classical music
contemporary classical

Music of Today: Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Part of Contemporary Edit

Be swept away by a musical world of beauty and tension in this concert from the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series.

They present three radiant works by American composer Sky Macklay and Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

Delicate balance and stormy contrasts lie at the heart of each. The ethereal world of Thorvaldsdottir’s Aequilibria is inspired by the harmony she finds in nature, creating a meditative mood that grows and contracts like calm, deep breaths.

But interspersed are moments of conflict, as flurries of excitement in the flute and piano, and sharp, percussive outbursts across the ensemble, interject and interrupt the calm scene.

In Hrím, Thorvaldsdottir takes this even further, with intense sound fragments that appear and gradually disperse across the ensemble to create a dark but shimmering landscape.

The listener is drawn in as each instrument in turn introduces a new idea only for it to scatter and eventually fade into unearthly nothingness.

To open, Macklay’s Microvariations is filled with humour and irreverence. Hers is a playful fantasy on instrument tuning as two opposing ensembles battle with familiar harmonies presented in comical new ways.


Philharmonia Orchestra
conductor to be announced


Sky Macklay: Microvariations (European premiere)
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Aequilibria for chamber orchestra (UK premiere); Hrim for chamber orchestra (UK premiere)

Dates & times

29 Oct 2020
Approximate run time: 45 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Purcell Room


Free, but ticketed

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