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A Musical Midsummer Celebration


People coming to Iceland during summer get the chance to experience our beautiful bright summer nights. At this time of year, there’s an unusual energy in the air and what’s better than spending these evenings listening to beautiful tunes in Harpa, Reykjavík’s remarkable concert hall?

Around the summer solstice, the 16th to 19th of June 2016, the Reykjavík Midsummer Music Festival takes place for the fifth time. Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson, one of our best pianists, is the founder of this award-winning chamber festival, and will be performing himself in the festival.

The festival has a certain theme every year, and this year’s theme is “Wanderer”, referring to the broad landscape of music that the audience will travel over. The concept of “wandering” or “travelling” comes from the Romanticism and is not only about the desire to travel, it’s about life itself, and the experience which can be obtained during voyages. Around 20 artists will come to Iceland from all over the world to play various music along with local artists in these bright summer evenings.


The opening concert this year is “Interstellar Wanderer”. It takes the audience on a voyage into space, with a series of works on the theme; Ravel’s chamber works, Toru Takemitsu’s Orion, Kaja Saariaho’s distilled Northern lights, and the world premiere of Skúli Sverrisson’s new work inspired by space exploration. One of the artists who will be performing is Victoria Mullova, a Russian violinist, who won first prize at the 1980 International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition and the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982. Mullova claims to be looking forward to seeing the country and to partake in this extraordinary midsummer chamber music festival.


Mullova is also performing in “Songs of a Wayfarer” the next day along with many others, for example, Kristinn Sigmundsson bass and national treasure, who is singing in operas and concerts all over the world, and has also had concerts in Harpa with Víkingur Heiðar. This evening the audience will get the chance to listen to the works of Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf and Gustav Mahler, carried out by various artists. The concerts of this evening are an ode to walking like it used to be for the Romantic generation; an artistic and mystical act, when you feel connected to the sublime in nature.


Joined together in Harpa on a (hopefully) sunny evening, the audience will experience a magnificent journey through classical music, with the help of talented artists, ending with Franz Schubert’s “Der Wanderer” on the final evening.

You can buy a festival pass or tickets for single concerts.
Check it out here!

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