Composer Atli Örvarsson Receives BAFTA Award

Composer Atli Örvarsson

Composer Atli Örvarsson was granted a BAFTA award Sunday night for his music for the television programme Silo. This was Atli’s first BAFTA nomination, RÚV reports.

A “dream job”

The show stars Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson, known for her roles in the Dune and Mission:Impossible franchises of films. Silo is streaming on AppleTV+.

In his acceptance speech, Atli called his work on the project a “dream job”. He thanked director Morten Tyldum, who approached him for the collaboration. Atli added that Tyldum had realised that the project needed someone who had grown up with the dark and claustrophobic winters of Northwest Iceland.

From Iceland to Hollywood

Atli worked on the project in London and recorded it in the U.K. and in Akureyri in the north of Iceland. Atli lives and works in Akureyri. He was a member of pop band Sálin hans Jóns míns before moving into the film and television industry. He’s composed and orchestrated music for films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Angels & Demons and the Superman instalment Man of Steel.

Other nominees in the category of “Best Original Music Fiction” were Adiescar Chase for Heartstopper, Blair Mowat for Nolly and Natalie Holt for Loki.

Hildur Guðnadóttir and Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson Honored at Opus Klassik

Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson are both winners of the Opus Klassik, a new German prize for classical music, RÚV reports. Hildur won the Most Innovative Concert of the Year for her live performance of music composed for the TV show Chernobyl, and Víkingur won Best Solo Pianist for his album interpreting works by French composers Debussy and Rameau.

Over the last year, Hildur has received a stunning number of awards and commendations for her compositions for both Chernobyl and the film Joker, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Joker), a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Chernobyl), and a World Soundtrack Award for Television Composer of the Year (Chernobyl).

Víkingur has had a similarly lauded rise to prominance in recent years, having been dubbed ‘Iceland’s Glenn Gould’ by The New York Times, named Gramophone magazine’s artist of the year in 2019, and won BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Year award in 2019 for his album Johann Sebastian Bach. He also won an Opus Klassik award for Best Piano Album of the Year last year.

Formerly the Echo Awards, the Opus Klassik has been awarded for two years and is meant to raise the profile of classical music composition and performance. The award is given in 25 categories.

Full-Bodied Sound

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Hildur Guðnadóttir talks about music as a physical process. Her classical training is a “trampoline to jump from,” while listening to doom metal is “like getting a full body massage.” Yet for the composer of HBO series Chernobyl and upcoming Hollywood film Joker, this physical approach doesn’t make the art any less intellectual. On the contrary, the body serves as a way into the complex characters and plots, and into the essence of the musician herself.

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Icelandic Composer of Chernobyl Nominated for Emmy

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has been nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award for her original music for the TV series Chernobyl. Hildur’s atmospheric soundscape, sculpted from live recordings made inside the nuclear power plant where the show was filmed, has been praised for how its weaves seamlessly into the action of the series.

HBO production Chernobyl is a historical drama miniseries which centres around the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986. To write the score, Hildur visited the shooting location, a nuclear power plant in Lithuania, and made live recordings of its atmospheric sounds. “I wanted to explore what a nuclear disaster sounds like – to go into the plant, put on the gear, walk through the huge spaces, smell how it smells,” she told Iceland Review in a recent interview. Alongside sound engineer Chris Watson and score producer Sam Slater, Hildur observed and recorded the plant’s hums, echoes, and thuds, produced by everything from dosimeters to doors.

It’s these recordings that were moulded into the score for Chernobyl in the place of traditional instruments. “Often film music is boosting the emotion on the screen,” Hildur explains. “But because the events at Chernobyl were so devastating in themselves, I found it was really important that I wasn’t exaggerating anything with thriller music or dramatic strings, I wanted to approach the music very honestly.”

Hildur is featured in the August-September issue of Iceland Review magazine, where she talks about her work on Chernobyl as well as upcoming Hollywood film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Subscribe to Iceland Review here.