Iceland Debut

24 May 2014

In June 2014, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra travels to Iceland for the first time, performing not only at Reykjavik's spectacular concert hall, Harpa, but also at the city hospital and in the city's cafes and bars.

These appearances have come about at the invitation of the four-day festival "Reykjavik Midsummer Music", which brings together Icelandic and international artists during the "white nights" in Reykjavik. The festival’s motto in 2014 is "Minimal-Maximal"; the MCO contributes a programme of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Steve Reich and John Adams.

At the start of the festival, on 13 June, three musicians from the MCO together with Pekka Kuusisto perform Steve Reich's "Violin Phase" in short concerts at various cafes and bars around Reykjavik.

On 14 and 15 June, MCO chamber music ensembles play alongside Icelandic artists in the Silfurberg Hall at Harpa.

The highlight of the stay is the MCO concert on 15 June, under the leadership of Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto in the large concert hall at Harpa. This cultural and conference centre, designed by Ólafur Elíasson, features an architectural glass façade which reflects the changing qualities of sunlight throughout the day. Harpa, which opened in 2011, is located right on the harbour and has become Reykjavik's newest landmark.

The festival comes to an end on 16 June with MCO musicians and DJ Georg Conrad playing a late night remix concert.

In addition, MCO musicians perform chamber music in the city hospital on 14 June, providing a live music experience for those unable to attend the festival concerts.

The orchestra's Iceland debut marks the end of the first joint tour of the MCO with Pekka Kuusisto, after concerts in Budapest (10 June) and Berlin (12 June).