International Contemporary Ensemble
Sat, Apr 25, 2015
Innovative new music ensemble ICE performs In the Light of Air, an atmospheric and luminescent work they commissioned of Anna Thorvaldsdottir for the Reykjavik Arts Festival. An inspired and unusual collaboration between the musicians and composer, In the Light of Air is played alongside an installation and interactive light constellation. In the Light of Air is played in four movements—Luminance, Serenity, Existence, and Remembrance—tied together through connecting materials. The ICE musicians activate the lighting fixtures through their breath as well as through their instrumental performance. Thorvaldsdottir conceived of the installation’s metallic ornaments for ICE to play as part of the live performance. The ornaments—called Klakabönd in Icelandic, which translates as “a bind of ice”—were created by the artist Svana Jósepsdóttir.
Thorvaldsdottir imbues In the Light of Air with subtle nuances and poetic textures of sound materials and harmonies that stream together as lyrical gestures throughout the work. Explaining the total experience, she says “internally I hear sounds and nuances as musical melodies . . . structurally I like working with perspectives of details and the unity of the whole, and the relationship between the two.”
About the Artists
Anna Thorvaldsdottir is a prominent Icelandic composer who frequently works with large structures of sounds for instrumental ensembles, soloists, voices, or electronic mediums. Her music often portrays a flowing world of sound with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Thorvaldsdottir’s music is frequently performed in Europe and the US, and her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions. Her chamber orchestra piece “Hrim” was awarded Composition of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards 2011, as well as the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011. At the Icelandic Music Awards 2012, Thorvaldsdottir was awarded Composer of the Year and her debut album Rhízōma was awarded Classical/Contemporary Album of the Year. She received the Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her orchestral work Dreaming. She holds a PhD from the University of California-San Diego.
ICE is dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. With a modular makeup of 33 leading instrumentalists performing in forces ranging from solos to large ensembles, ICE functions as performer, presenter, and educator, advancing the music of our time by developing innovative new works and new strategies for audience engagement. Since its founding in 2001 and directed by Claire Chaise, ICE has premiered more than 500 compositions, the majority of these new works by emerging composers, in venues ranging from alternate spaces to concert halls around the world. The ensemble received the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award in 2010 and the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming in 2005 and in 2010. ICE musicians have served as Artists-in-Residence at the Mostly Mozart Festival of Lincoln Center through 2013, and ICE was MCA’s first Ensemble-in-Residence from 2010 through 2013.
ICE has released acclaimed albums on labels such as Nonesuch, Kairos, Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik, New Focus, and New Amsterdam, with several forthcoming releases on Mode Records. Recent and upcoming highlights include headline performances at the Lincoln Center Festival (New York), Musica Nova Helsinki (Finland), Wien Modern (Austria), Acht Brücken Music for Cologne (Germany), and La Cité de la Musique (Paris), as well as tours of Japan, Brazil, and France. ICE has worked closely with conductors Ludovic Morlot, Matthias Pintscher, John Adams, and Susanna Mälkki.