Iceland Symphony Orchestra Nominated For Grammy

Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Eldborg Hall

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s album Concurrence is nominated for a Grammy award in the category Best Orchestral Performance. IN the album, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daníel Bjarnason, performs new pieces by four Icelandic Composers, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, Haukur Tómasson, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and Páll Ragnar Pálsson. Soloists are cellist Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir and pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson. The album is the second of three in the collaboration of the orchestra and the US record label Sono Luminus, where the orchestra will perform 14 new Icelandic orchestral pieces in total, conducted by Daníel. The final addition to the series, Occurrence, is expected in January 2021.

Read more on the birth of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra

The New York Times chose Concurrence as one of its 25 best Classical Music Tracks of 2019 and NPR chose it as one of its 10 classical albums to usher in the next decade. Five albums are nominated for a Grammy in this category. Other nominees include the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Fransisco Symphony.

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has been nominated for a Grammy once before, in 2009 in the same category.

Daníel Bjarnason Receives Optimist Award

Conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason.

Conductor and composer Daníel Bjarnason has received the 2018 Bjartsýnisverðlaun, or Optimist Award, Vísir reports. The award is granted yearly to an Icelandic artist who through their art has contributed to an optimistic outlook on life.

Daníel Bjarnason, born 1979, studied music in Iceland and in Freiburg, Germany. As conductor he has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, among others. His first opera, Brothers, was premiered in Denmark in 2017 and received its Icelandic premiere last year.

The Optimist Award was established in 1981, and is awarded by the President of Iceland. It includes a monetary prize of ISK 1 million ($8,500/€7,500).