Dark Music Days Celebrate 30th Anniversary Skip to content

Dark Music Days Celebrate 30th Anniversary

The festival Myrkir músíkdagar (“Dark Music Days”) begins in Reykjavík tomorrow. The music festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this year; it was held for the first time in 1980 at the initiative of composers Atli Heimir Sveinsson and Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson, among others.

“The purpose was to perform modern Icelandic music and reflect the Icelandic music life,” Kjartan Ólafsson, chairman of the Society of Icelandic Composers, which participates in organizing this year’s festival, told Fréttabladid.

Ólafsson explained that the name originates from the festival being held in the darkest hours if winter. “Around 1980 not much was happening at this time of year, the Icelandic nation was still relaxing after the Christmas holiday and there were few musical events. […] Myrkir músíkdagar was a light in the dark.”

The festival is meant to present versatile music genres and its uniqueness lies in that it boasts more young composers and attendees than comparable festivals abroad, Ólafsson stated. The youngest composer is 27 and the oldest is in her nineties.

“It has caught attention overseas and we are expecting a number of visitors, both from the media and people who organize large festivals in England, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries,” Ólafsson said, adding that one third of the compositions performed have never been played publicly before. “It is unique and creates excitement.”

In past festivals between 2,500 and 3,000 people have been in attendance. This year, 24 events are on the program, 21 concerts and three presentations. The festival is held in cooperation with the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Click here to read more about the program.

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