Music is one of the best parts of the Christmas season, and Iceland goes all in this time of year. With the Advent season already upon us, Christmas concerts are in full force. Here are some holiday (and some not-so-holiday) music events to watch out for.
Christmas at the Symphony
At this year’s Christmas concerts, the Orchestra offers a wide range of music that has long been an indispensable part of the holiday season. Solo vocalists Alexander Jarl Þorsteinsson, Björk Níelsdóttir, and Kolbrún Völkudóttir; the Reykjavík Girls’ Choir; the Litlu Sprotarnir Sign Language Choir; and the Reykjanes Music School Bell Choir perform Christmas favourites. Dancers from the Iceland Ballet Academy and groups of young instrumentalists take the stage as well. With Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as Master of Ceremonies in the role of the inimitable Barbara the Clown, the festive mood will infect everyone. Christmas at the ISO is an event no music lover should miss.
Bríet’s Holidays Concert
Dec. 16 & 17 – Fríkirkjan
Singer-songwriter Bríet will celebrate the holidays by hosting a unique and intimate concert with her boyfriend Rubin Pollock, and his best friend, Þorleifur Gaukur. The concert will be cosy, friendly and loads of fun.
Together they will play songs from Bríet’s debut album ‘Kveðja, Bríet’ alongside their favourite Holiday songs. Do not miss this opportunity to get away from all the Holiday preparations and enjoy their beautiful music.
Mulinn Jazz Club – Nat King Cole – Best of Christmas
This quartet honours the legendary Nat King Cole trio. The jazz club Múlinn is at the top of Harpa, the glamorous multiple-music venue at the heart of Reykjavik. On a clear night, sometimes the Aurora Borealis can be seen from the balcony. You will hear all the songs you love, including The Christmas Song, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Holy Night and many more; the spirit of famous crooners won’t be far away: names like Michael Bublé, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett. The trio of players includes some of the most renowned jazz musicians in Iceland. Thor Breidfjord is one of the main “crooner” singers in Iceland, having recorded the Christmas album “Jól í stofunni” (available on Spotify) a few years back. He also enjoyed a long and successful career in Musical Theatre in London’s West End before moving back to his native Iceland.
Andkristni Metal Fest
Dec. 16 & 17 – Gaukurinn
Andkristnihátið is the longest-running metal festival in Iceland, going back to the year 2000. Some of the best black metal bands in Iceland will take the stage alongside some up-and-coming metal acts from the US, Ireland and Germany. If you are a metal fan, don‘t miss this two-day, ear-punishing fest.
New Year‘s Eve Brass and Organ
Dec. 31 – Hallgrímskirkja Church
Every New Year‘s Eve, the people of Reykjavík gather around Hallgrímskirkja for the fireworks that ring in the new year. So if you want to join in the fun, why not head up to the church a little early to catch one of the last holiday concerts of the year? Hallgrímskirkja Church is famous for its organ concerts, with its dramatic and enormous pipes adorning the church‘s back wall. Add on a brass quartet and New Year‘s Eve, and you‘ve got yourself a good time! The concert begins at 4 PM and costs ISK 4.000.
Christmas Concerts at Harpa
December – Harpa
Since December 1, Christmas music has been constant at Harpa Concert Hall. From the Icelandic National Symphony to the Women‘s Choir of the University of Iceland, there are endless events for everyone. Beloved Icelandic singer Valdimar Guðmundsson will hold his annual Christmas concert at Harpa on December 2. On December 4, you can hear the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra perform holiday songs in the baroque style. The Icelandic Opera will perform holiday music on December 23. Check out Harpa‘s calendar for all their December events.