Bio

Anna Thorvaldsdottir frequently works with large sonic structures that tend to reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere.

Anna’s music is frequently performed internationally, and has been featured at several major venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Big Ears Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Klangspuren Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions - most notably, Anna is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work Dreaming, the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award in 2015, and Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award and 2018 Martin E. Segal Award.

Some of the orchestras and ensembles that have performed Anna's work include International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Yarn/Wire, The Crossing, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, and Either/Or Ensemble. In April 2018, Esa-Pekka Salonen lead the New York Philharmonic in the premiere of Anna’s work Metacosmos, which was commissioned by the orchestra. The work will receive its European premiere with the Berlin Philharmonic in January 2019, conducted by Alan Gilbert. Anna is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Anna holds a PhD from the University of California in San Diego.

Anna’s debut portrait album - Rhízōma - was released in October 2011 through Innova Recordings and was very well received and appeared on a number of “Best of 2011” lists, e.g. at TimeOut New York and TimeOut Chicago.
Anna's portrait album - Aerial - was released by Deutsche Grammophon in November 2014 and appeared on a number of year end lists, e.g. at New Yorker Magazine, Boston Globe, iTunes Classical, and WQXR's Q2.
In the Light of Air was released by Sono Luminus in August 2015, performed by ICE and appeared on a number of year end lists, e.g. at the New York Times,The New Yorker, Boston Globe, NPR Classical, and Chicago Reader.
A new portrait album with a selection of recent chamber pieces - AEQUA - will be released in November 2018 on Sono Luminus, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, with two pieces conducted by Steven Schick and a solo piano work performed by Cory Smythe.

 

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When not engaged in music-related activities, Anna may be found doing yoga, meditation or walking in nature, seeking inspiration for music and life. Anna is married to Hrafn Ásgeirsson, PhD in philosophy, Associate Professor, avant-garde saxophone player and recreational photographer.