J.S. Bach: Christams Oratorio I-III

IN CELEBRATION OF SCHOLA CANTORUM’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY CHRISTMAS ORATORIO I-III BY J. S. BACH BWV 248

Thursday December 29th at 8.00 pm
Friday December 30th at 5.00 pm

Along with The Hallgrímskirkja International Baroque Orchestra
Concertmaster: Tuomo Suni

Soloists:
Thelma Hrönn Sigurdórsdóttir soprano
Hildigunnur Einarsdóttir alto
Benedikt Kristjánsson tenor/ Evangelist
Fjölnir Ólafsson bass

Conductor: Hörður Áskelsson

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is one of most remarkable pieces from the Baroque period. The six cantatas were composed for the Christmas celebration in 1734, one to be performed during services in churches on each of the individual feast days.
The Christmas message is attributed in joyful pieces, touching arias and thoughtful praises, celebrating the nativity of the Saviour.
In celebration of it’s 20th anniversary, Schola Cantorum will perform the first three cantatas with the renowned Hallgrímskirkja Baroque Orchestra and wonderful solo singers. The concerts will be a true highlight of the Christmas Music Festival in Hallgrímskirkja.

Admission ISK 9.500 luxury seats in the first 8 rows ( no discount), ISK 6.500 all other seats.
Tickets for sale on tix.is and at Hallgrímskirkja tel. +354 510 1000.

Hörður Áskelsson has been main organist and cantor in Hallgrímskirkja since finishing his graduate studies in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1982. In the same year he founded the Motet Choir of Hallgrímskirkja and was instigator of the founding of the Friends of the Arts Society of Hallgrímskirkja. n 1987 he established the Festival of Sacred Arts, since then a biannual event on the cultural scene in Iceland. In 1993 he founded the Summer the Organ concert series and in 1996 Áskelsson founded the chamber choir Schola cantorum, which has already become one of Iceland’s most respected choirs. Hörður Áskelsson has received much recognition and conducted many oratorios, often with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and premiered a number of Icelandic compositions.With his choirs he has participated in various music festivals and international competitions, winning prizes. He has received many prizes including the Icelandic Music Prize in 2002 and the distinguished Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon in 2004. Hörður Áskelsson has also been a teacher of the organ and choir conducting at the Iceland National Church’s Music School and from 2005-2011 Hörður Áskelsson was the Church Music Director of the National Church of Iceland.

Schola cantorum is the church’s multiple prize-winning chamber choir, celebrating it’s 20th birthday this year. The choir’s repertoire is wide, ranging from renaissance to contemporary music. Schola cantorum gives regular concerts in Iceland and has performed in festivals and given concerts in Norway, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Switzerland and France. In 2017 Schola cantorum gives among others number of concerts in Los Angeles where the choir has been invited to sing in the Green Umbrella festival in April 2017.  Schola cantorum newest CD MEDITATIO, released by BIS in Sweden, has been praised highly by international music critics.

The Hallgrimskirkja International Baroque Orchestra (previously Den Haag) has come together in Iceland many times in recent years, to perform the great masterpieces of the Baroque era with Hallgrimskirkja’s distinguished choirs. The orchestra is made up of musicians that studied at the prestigious Early Music department at the Royal Conservatoire in Den Haag, which enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the largest and most important faculties of its kind. Violist Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir, an alumni of the Royal Conservatoire, was one of the founders of the Hallgrimskirkja International Baroque Orchestra. The members of the Hallgrimskirkja International Baroque Orchestra are all prominent musicians, regularly performing with some of the world‘s leading ensembles and orchestras that specialize in historically informed performances under the baton of acclaimed directors. These include the Ricercar Consort, Les Arts Florissants, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan, Concerto Copenhagen, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Collegium Vocale Gent, Capriccio Stravagante and Orcherstre des Champs-Élysées, and directors such as Philippe Pierlot, William Christie, Masaaki Suzuki, Skip Sempé and Philippe Herreweghe. The collaboration between the Hallgrimskirkja International Baroque Orchestra and Hörður Áskelsson has received deserved attention and wide critical acclaim for its pioneering work in early music performances in Iceland.