Arctic Philharmonic and Iceland Dance Company to open the 2020 Arctic Arts Festival


AIŌN - photo: Olaf Tryzna
AIŌN - photo: Olaf Tryzna

AIŌN, by composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir will open the Festspillene i Nord Norge in June 2020. This spectacular work will be performed by the Iceland Dance Company in collaboration with the Norwegian Arctic Philharmonic and under the direction of Anna Maria Helsing who conducted the acclaimed premiere in Gothenburg last May. 

- This co-operation between Arktik Filharmoni, Iceland Dance Company and Festspillene is a prime example of how we aim at weaving together the artistic powers and influences of the North and the best from elsewhere. AIŌN unites music and dance in a totally new way and is a truly magical experience, says artistic director Ragnheiður Skúladóttir.

A Sea of music and movement

Inspired by thoughts about time and a journey between dimentions, AIŌN is a powerful piece where dancers of the Iceland Dance Company and members of the orchestra meet and merge together in a sea of music and movement. The surprising and magical world on stage is embedded in the spectacular work of costume designer Agnieszka Baranowska and film makers Pierre-Alain Giraud and Valdimar Jóhannsson who‘s spellbinding visuals will be projected on the stage and the walls of Kulturhuset‘s Store Sal. 

- We really look forward to open the next Arctic Arts Festival with AIŌN! It is particularly nice that this is the first opening presented by the new artistic director, says the program director for Arctic Philharmonic, Catharina Roos Bilsbak.

Anna Thorvaldsdóttirhas been described by the New York Classical Review as "one of the most compelling contemporary composers“ and „the most exciting force in Icelandic music since Björk" (Financial Times). She received the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2012 and her works have been recorded by Deutsche Grammophone and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonics, the New York Philharmonics and the Berlin Philhamonics. Anna has also won the Martin Segall, Lincoln Center and Kraviz Emerging Composer awards, as well as prized commissions from the New York Philharmonic Society. 

- Anna Thorvaldsdottir is one of the leading composers of the European contemporary music scene, with a strong nordic sound and voice. Our orchestra is familiar with her music through previous pieces they have performed. To be able to work with her and Icelandic Dance Company will be a great inspiration and experience for the musicians of the orchestra. A grand philharmonic orchestra and amazing dancers combined with strong visuals - it will be a spectacular opening performance, continues Bilsbak.

Erna Ómarsdóttir, choreographer and artistic director of the Iceland Dance Company, is one of Europe‘s leading choreographers. She has worked with Damien Jalet, Ballet C De la B, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Björk and her own collective, Shalala. Among Erna Ómarsdóttir‘s choreography pieces are IBM1401 (music by Jóhann Jóhannsson), Black Marrow (music by Ben Frost), Shrine (music by Valdimar Jóhannsson), Best Of Darkness (music by SigurRós) and Union Of the North (in collaboration with visual artist Matthew Barney). 

Iceland Dance Company is a state ensemble which focuses on contemporary dance. It is based in Reykjavík and has toured its work around the world.

Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra resides in the cities of Bodø and Tromsø and is one of Northern Norway’s most important and active cultural institutions.

AIŌN is an original co-production between Iceland Dance Company and the Gothenburg Symphony.