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Chamber music

Sýsl á víxl

Sýsl á víxl

marimba and piano

Sýsl á víxl was written for pianist Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir and percussionist Frank Aarnink.

Dark Music Days
February 7th, 2009



Written for The Reykjavik Trio, celebrating their 20th anniversary. Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, violin, Gunnar Kvaran, cello and Peter Máté, piano.

Premiere: Hafnarborg, March 29th, 2009.

The Caregivers

soprano, oboe and women's choir

The Caregivers is written in cooperation with visual artists Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson.

Music video. 14 mint / color / sound / language English / subtitles English and Italian

The music-video Caregivers portrays two migrant care-givers from Ukraine and Romania and their (elderly) clients in their relationship and daily work in the area of Rovereto. The work combines visual arts, journalism and classical contemporary music. It ́s structure is conceived roughly as a (pop)music video intertwined with documentary and home-video portrayal, juxtaposing the video images with a newspaper article which has been turned into a classical-contemporary music piece.
The writer is a young Italian-American journalist Davide Berretta.
19 JULY – 2 NOVEMBER 2008
The music is recorded in Iceland and performed by soprano Ingibjörg Guðjónsdóttir, oboe player Matthías Nardeau and the Women's Choir of Garðabær.

The Icelandic Constitution

for soprano, baritone, piano, double bass and mixed choir.

This is a joint production of the visual art duo Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson and Karólína Eiríksdóttir.

Premiere: Ketilhúsið in Akureyri on March 15th 2008, at 2 pm. Ingibjörg Guðjónsdóttir, soprano, Bergþór Pálsson, baritone, Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir, pianist, Gunnlaugur Torfi Stefánsson, bass player and the chamber choir Hymnodia directed by Eyþór Ingi Jónsson.

The performance is a part of the Art exhibition Bye-bye Iceland, which opens the same day at the Akureyri Art Museum.

Star Murmur

for flute and piano

Written for Berglind María Tómasdóttir, and Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir. Star Murmur is in four movements.

Premiere: Dark Music Days in Iðnó, February 5th 2008 at 8 pm.

Sameindir - Diatomic

for violin and cello

Sameindir was written for Guðný Guðmundsdóttir and Gunnar Kvaran, who premiered the piece at the Reykjavík Art Festival 2004.
Sameindir is seven miniatures.

Premiere: Reykjavík Art Festival at the Icelandic Opera, Mai 18th 2004, Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, violin and Gunnar Kvaran, cello

Strenglag - String Tune

viola and piano


Strenglag was premiered by Gudrun Hrund Hardardottir and Tinna Thorsteinsdottir at a concert with music by Karólína Eiríksdóttir at the National Art Gallery in Reykjavík. The piece is in three movements, the middle movement being the longest, framed by a prelude and postlude.

Premiere: The National Gallery of Iceland, October 8th 2005, Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir, viola and Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir, piano

Höfuðstafir - Main Staves

Fl., oboe, cl., vln., vlc., db.

Höfuðstafir was written for the Caput group and premiered by them in 2002 in a concert with music by Karólína Eiríksdóttir.

Premiere: October 19th, 2002; 15:15 at the Reykjavík City Theatre; Caput: Kolbeinn Bjarnason, flute, Eydís Franzdóttir, oboe, Guðni Franzson, clarinet, Zbigniew Dubik, violin, Sigurður Halldórsson, cello, Hávarður Tryggvason, double bass

Að iðka gott til æru - Prizing Virtue

Mezzosoprano, oboe, vla.,, vlc.,, harps. and mixed choir
ca. 13'

"Prizing Virtue" was written by commission from the Skálholt Summer Festival for mezzosoprano Ásgerður Júníusdóttir, a chamber choir and four instruments. There are three movements, each built on material from tunes from old Icelandic manuscripts. The composer uses various compositional methods, both modern and traditional.

Premiere: Skalholt Summer Concerts Festival, July 14th 2001, Ásgerður Júníusdóttir, mezzosoprano, Peter Tompkins, oboe, Jónína Auður Hilmarsdóttir, viola, Sigurður Bjarki Gunnarsson, cello, Helga Ingólfsdóttir, harpsichord, Suðurland Chamber Choir, dir. Hilmar Örn Agnarsson

The premiere took place at the Skálholt Summer Festial in July, 2001.


Cl. & pno.
ca. 12'

Capriccio was written for Einar Jóhannesson and Örn Magnússon.

Premiere: Salurinn, April 8th 2001, Einar Jóhannesson, clarinet, Örn Magnússon, piano


Cl., vln., vlc. & pno.

Miniatures consists of four short movements. Swiss music lovers commissioned the piece for a concert of Karólína Eiríksdóttir's music. Miniatures was premiered in Baden in Switzerland in 1999. The Icelandic premiere took place at a concert with music by Karólína Eiríksdóttir held by Caput.

Premiere: April 25th 1999, Buchhandlung Librium, Baden, Switzerland; Matthias Müller, clarinet, Marianne Aeschbacher, violin, Martina Schucan, cello, Regula Stibi, piano

Quartet for Several Saxophones

for saxophone quartet

Quartet for Several Saxophones was written for the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet with a commission from NOMUS in 1998. It was premiered the same year by the Quartet, which played the piece in several places in Sweden.
The piece consists of four movements: Prelude, Rondo, Adagio and Canon.
The piece uses saxophones ranging from sopranino to bass.


Fl., vln., vlc. & pno.

Impromtu was commissioned by four Swedish musicians as a part of a project to commission pieces from 22 Nordic composers, to play in bars in the Nordic countries. The composers were asked not to change their style for the occasion. The pieces were performed on a concert tour to the five Nordic countries.

Frábæra, bæra

Old Icelandic psalm
arr. for soprano, viola da gamba and harps.

Spil - Jouissance

2 fl.
ca. 9'

Jouissance was written for Guðrún S. Birgisdóttir and Martial Nardeau in 1993. The premiere took place in Paris in 1994.
Games is in three movements, the first movement starts with a meditative solo for alto flute, the second movement is an Intermezzo and the third movement displays the two flutes intertwined in various activities.

Premiere: Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, September 13th, 1994; Guðrún S. Birgisdóttir, flute and Martial Nardeau, flute

smk 13 Karólína Eiríksdóttir - Spil: Guðrún S. Birgisdóttir and Martial
Nardeau, flutes

Na Carenza

Mezzosoprano, oboe and viola
ca. 7'

Na Carenza was written at the request of Austrian musicologist Regina Himmelbauer. Her idea was to get female composers from all over the world to write music to the text of female troubadors from medieval times. A good amount of their poetry has survived but none of their music. Na Carenza was premiered at an International Festival of Female Composers in Vienna in 1995. The Icelandic premiere took place in Skálholt in 2001. The piece has also been performed in Holland.

Premiere: Vienna, 9th International Congress on Women in Music: April 30th 1995, Kristin Nordeval, mezzosoprano


Vln., vlc., cl. & pno.

Renku was written by commission from Michio Nakajima in 1992. Renku is a name for a Japanese form of poetry, which in some ways reminds of an Icelandic way of poetry where two people converse alternating their verses. In the Renku tradition one poet starts by rendering a verse ansvered by an other poet and so and so forth. The result is a cycle of poetry named Renku often consisting of 36 verses.
Renku was written for the Ýmir chamber group.

Premiere: Dark Music Days at Kjarvalsstaðir, February 7th 1993; Ýmir Ensemble: Einar Jóhannesson, clarinet, Auður Hafsteinsdóttir, violin, Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir, cello, Örn Magnússon, piano

ITM 8-03 Icelandic Chamber Music - Ýmir Ensemble


Fl., oboe, cl., hn., bsn. & harps.
ca. 13'

Mutanza - Umröðun was written at the request of the Reykjavík Wind Quintet for their 10th anniversary. The piece consists of three movements. The title Mutanza is a 16th century term for variations, and in some ways that term can be applied to the piece.

Premiere: The National Gallery of Iceland, Oct. 22nd 1991; The Reykjavík Wind Quintett and Robyn Koh, harpsichord


Vln., vlc. & pno.
ca. 9'

Trio was composed in 1986 for the Reykjavík Trio and premiered at the Summer Festival of Musica Nova in 1987.

Premiere: Musica Nova at the Nordic House in Reykjavík, May 28th 1987; Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, Gunnar Kvaran, Halldór Haraldsson

ITM 7-01 Karólína Eiríksdóttir - Portrait: Tríó Reykjavíkur

Six Movements for String Quartet

2 vln., vla. & vlc.
ca. 8'

Six Movements for String Quartet were written in 1983 for the Berwald String Quartet with a commission from the Swedish State Concerts. The Berwald Quartet took the piece on a tour in Sweden in Iceland in 1984.
Six Movements for String Quartet consist of six short movements without title.

Premiere:Täby, Sweden, February 23rd 1884, The Berwald String Quartet

Sumir dagar - Some Days

Soprano, fl., cl., vlc. & pno. or soprano fl., cl.,vlc., harps. & guit.
ca. 12'30''
Text by Þorsteinn frá Hamri
6 poems: Gunnarshólmi, Eign, Sannleikurinn, Í hrapinu, Kvöld, Sumir dagar

Some Days was written in 1982 for soprano, flute, clarinet, cello and piano. In 1991 the piece was reorchestrated for soprano, flute, clarinet, cello, guitar and harpsichord.

Premiere: Musica Nova at the Nordic House in Reykjavík: Feb. 21st 1982
Signý Sæmundsdóttir, Bernard Wilkinson, Einar Jóhannesson, Gunnar Kvaran, Guðríður St. Sigurðardóttir


Fl., vln. & vlc.
ca. 7'

IVP was written during the summer of 1977 and premiered in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1978.
The piece consists of four short movements, independant but related at the same time.

Six Poems from the Japanese

Mezzosoprano, flute and cello
ca. 4'30''

Six Poems from the Japanese were composed in 1977 and premiered in Ann Arbor, Michigan the same year.
Japanese poetry is very concise and consequently the music consists of six miniatures.

DACOCD 423 New Nordic Chamber Music, Wärme-Quartet