Young stars of the organ, the premiere of a brand new, Icelandic organ piece and a top secret programme are on the calendar in Hallgrímskirkja this summer. The International Organ Summer concerts are held for the 24th year with 29 organ concerts and nine choral concerts from June 18 – August 21. The magnificent Klais organ and the wonderful acoustics of the church every year attract talented performers from all over the world. This year our artists come from the USA, Sweden, Latvia, The Netherlands, The UK, France, Germany and Iceland – some of them big names in the organ world like Leo Doeselaar of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Douglas Cleveland of Plymouth Church, Seattle and Mattias Wager of Storkyrkan, Stockholm.
A young, French organ star opens the International Organ Summer with concerts on June 18 and 19. At only 27 years, Thomas Ospital has received multiple awards for his performances and holds the position of organist at the respected St. Eustache church in Paris. Even younger is the American Katelyn Emerson, performing later in the summer, a rising star already holding prizes and last year granted a Fulbright scholarship to study with Olivier Latry in France.
Looking at the programme of the Organ Summer, one realizes just how many different and magnificent works have been written for the queen of instruments. Hörður Áskelsson, organist of Hallgrímskirkja, plays two very different toccatas: the classical Toccata and fugue in d-minor by Bach and Icelandic composer Jón Nordal’s Tokkata. Many of the foreign guests play works from their homelands and Sigrún Magna Þórsteinsdóttir of Akureyri church plays organ works by women only. Organist Lára Bryndís Eggertsdóttir however is quite mysterious about her and saxophone player Dorthe Højland´s programme, that apparently needs to remain secret until the concert!
Composers are still writing works for the organ and organist Björn Steinar Sólbergsson of Hallgrímskirkja will at his concert premiere a new piece by Icelandic composer Hreiðar Ingi. Let us not forget all the wonderful transcriptions of orchestral works made for the organ, of which we will hear quite a few this summer. Leo Doeselaar from The Netherlands will for example play a grand transcription of Dukas’ The Magician’s Apprentice.
Hallgrímskirkja’s wonderful, prize-winning chamber choir Schola cantorum sings weekly concerts on Wednesdays all summer long. This year the choir celebrates it’s 20th anniversary with a new CD, MEDITATIO, published under the renowned Swedish label BIS. On the CD is a selection of outstanding choral works from the 20th and 21st century which interpret grief and bereavement in the light of hope and comfort. Among the selected works are John Tavener’s simple but stirring The Lamb, Eric Whitacre’s unearthly Lux aurumque and two of the most beautiful Icelandic choir pieces ever written: Jón Leifs’ Requiem for the young daughter he lost and Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson’s Heyr himna smiður (Hear Heaven’s Maker), considered by many to be the most beautiful hymn ever written in Iceland. In the summer concerts, the choir performs works from their new CD along with classical church music gems. Soloists from the choir step forward and sing with the Klais organ.
Concerts this summer
18/6 12 noon Thomas Ospital, St. Eustache, Paris, France.
19/6 5 pm Thomas Ospital, St. Eustache, Paris, France.
22/6 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
23/6 12 noon Guðmundur Sigurðsson, Hafnarfjarðarkirkja, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland.
25/6 12 noon Björn Steinar Sólbergsson, Hallgrímskirkja.
26/6 5 pm Björn Steinar Sólbergsson, Hallgrímskirkja.
29/6 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
30/6 12 noon Hörður Áskelsson, Hallgrímskirkja.
2/7 12 noon Leo van Doeselaar, concert organist, The Netherlands.
3/7 5 pm Leo van Doeselaar, concert organist, The Netherlands.
6/7 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
7/7 12 noon Sigrún Magna Þórsteinsdóttir, Akureyrarkirkja, Akureyri, Iceland.
9/7 12 noon Kári Þormar, Dómkirkjan, Reykjavík.
10/7 5 pm Kári Þormar, Dómkirkjan, Reykjavík.
13/7 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
14/7 12 noon Lára Bryndís Eggertsdóttir organ, Iceland, and Dorothee Höjland saxophone, Denmark.
16/7 12 noon Katelyn Emerson, USA.
17/7 5 pm Katelyn Emerson, USA.
20/7 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
21/7 12 noon Jón Bjarnason, Skálholtsdómkirkja, Skálholt, Iceland.
23/7 12 noon Ligita Sneibe, concert organist, Latvia.
24/7 5 pm Ligita Sneibe, concert organist, Latvia.
27/7 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
28/7 12 noon Larry Allen organ and Scott Bell oboe, USA.
30/7 12 noon Douglas Cleveland, Plymouth Church, Seattle, USA.
31/7 5 pm Douglas Cleveland, Plymouth Church, Seattle, USA.
3/8 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
4/8 12 noon Friðrik Vignir Stefánsson, Seltjarnarneskirkja, Seltjarnarnes, Iceland.
6/8 12 noon Mattias Wager, Storkyrkan, Stockholm, Sweden.
7/8 5 pm Mattias Wager, Storkyrkan, Stockholm, Sweden.
10/8 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
11/8 12 noon Hörður Áskelsson organ and Sigríður Ósk
Kristjánsdóttir mezzosoprano, Iceland.
13/8 12 noon Christoph Schöner, Michaeliskirche, Hamburg.
14/8 5 pm Christoph Schöner, Michaeliskirche, Hamburg.
17/8 12 noon Schola cantorum chamber choir, Hallgrímskirkja.
18/8 12 noon Kári Allansson, Háteigskirkja, Reykjavík.
20/8 12 noon James McVinnie, concert organist, London.
20/8 3-8 pm Cultural Night of Reykjavik in Hallgrimskirkja- free entrance.
21/8 5 pm James McVinnie, concert organist, London.
Tickets will be at the entrance 1 hour before each concert and online at www.midi.is.