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Sono Luminus Album Occurrence featured in The New York Times and on NPR's All Songs Considered

The New York Times - "5 Classical Albums to Hear Right Now"

NPR - All Songs Considered "New Mix" Podcast

Worldwide Release Date: January 22, 2021 Conducted by Daníel Bjarnason with Pekka Kuusisto, violin and Mario Caroli, flute Music by Icelandic composers Daníel Bjarnason, Veronique Vaka, Haukur Tómasson, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson

Sono Luminus announces the January 22, 2021 worldwide release of Occurrence, a new recording from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (ISO). Conducted by the ISO’s Principal Guest Conductor Daníel Bjarnason and recorded at Harpa in Reykjavík, Iceland in February 2018, December 2019 and March 2020, Occurrence features music by leading Icelandic composers Bjarnason (Violin Concerto), Veronique Vaka (Lendh), Haukur Tómasson (In Seventh Heaven), Þuríður Jónsdóttir (Flutter), and Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson (Adagio) plus the virtuosic and compelling soloists Pekka Kuusisto, violin and Mario Caroli, flute. Sono Luminus’ album package for Occurrence includes both CD and Pure Audio Blu-ray with 9.1 Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos 7.1.4, and 5.1 DTS-MA versions, as well as the mShuttle application containing FLAC and MP3 audio files. Occurrence is the third and final installment in a trilogy of albums from Sono Luminus and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, following the 2019 release of Concurrence, currently nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Orchestral Performance Category, and the 2017 release of Recurrence. “This is the third and last album of the ISO project, dedicated to recording the music of Icelandic composers with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. It has been a remarkable collaboration and one I am thrilled to have been a part of,” says Daníel Bjarnason, whose Violin Concerto is included on this album and whose work Emergence was included in the first volume of this series, and who conducts the ISO on all three recordings. “I want to thank the entire team at Sono Luminus for their wonderful wizardry. I also want to thank all my fellow composers for writing such beautiful music, and of course the orchestra and soloists for embracing this project with enthusiasm. I hope these recordings manage to find their way to many curious ears around the globe.” Of the music on Occurrence, Steve Smith writes in the liner notes for the album (excerpted): “Bjarnason’s own Violin Concerto, scarcely requires introduction, having proved its merits and attractions already on concert platforms around the globe since its 2017 world premiere at the Hollywood Bowl. Pekka Kuusisto, the violinist for whom the piece was written, demonstrates his consummate skill as a virtuoso, a collaborator and – not least – a whistler, and the orchestral accompaniment, no surprise, is vivid and alert … [In Flutter], commissioned to create a piece marking the centenary of Olivier Messiaen, who famously incorporated birdsong into his music through transcription, Þuríður Jónsdóttir accompanies solo flute and orchestra with sampled grasshoppers and crickets – who prove charming accompanists. A similar continuity of technique and spirit applies in Tómasson’s In Seventh Heaven, which … eschews athletic display and histrionic gestures in favor of continuously shifting textures. The music, composed for the opening of Reykjavik’s stunning Harpa Concert Hall, shimmers, glints, recedes, and jolts, transforming with the elemental unpredictability of light playing across Harpa’s dramatic crystalline exterior … Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson (1925-2005), a composer, pianist, conductor, and radio producer who completed his education at the Juilliard School, is viewed as Iceland’s first 12-tone composer, and among its electronic-music pioneers, as well. But in Adagio, composed in 1980 after a silence of nearly a decade, Jóhannsson abandoned his previous tools, embracing instead a melancholy lyricism all his own … Veronique Vaka, a Canadian composer and cellist, completed her master’s degree in Reykjavik, and then settled in southern Iceland. She based Lendh on her impressions of Krýsuvík, a gorgeously rugged geothermal area 35 kilometers away from the capital.” About the Soloists: Finnish violinist, conductor, and composer Pekka Kuusisto performs with orchestras around the world in programs spanning a broad range of repertoire. He is Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and a Collaborative Partner of the San Francisco Symphony. In 2020-21, he is Artist in Residence with the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt and at Milton Court at the Barbican. An advocate of new music, his upcoming and recent premieres include concertos and chamber works by Bryce Dessner, Djuro Zivkovic, Enrico Chapela, Sauli Zinovjev, Calliope Tsoupaki, Philip Venables, Andrea Tarrodi, plus concertos written for him by Bjarnason, Anders Hillborg, and Nico Muhly. In addition to this album, his recordings appear on the BIS, Ondine, and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Born in Italy, Mario Caroli is one of the most successful solo flutists in today’s international concert scene. He appears regularly in the greatest concert halls of the world including the Philharmonic Halls of Berlin and Cologne, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Opéra Garnier in Paris, New York’s Lincoln Center, Oji Hall, Suntory Hall and Opera City House of Tokyo, the Parco della Musica in Rome, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Bruxelles, and Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw. The Guardian reports, “The range of colour and texture that this outstanding soloist obtains is hauntingly beautiful.” About the Composers: Daníel Bjarnason is one of Iceland’s foremost musical voices today and is Principal Guest Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He keeps busy conducting and composing schedules. His Violin Concerto, written for Pekka Kuusisto, has become one of his most popular works since its premiere in 2017 at the Hollywood Bowl. It has since been performed by Kuusisto with numerous renowned orchestras around the world and continues to be regularly scheduled in future seasons. As a guest conductor, Bjarnason has been invited by orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Tokyo Symphony orchestras. Recent commissions include works for Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, The Holland Festival and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The works of composer and flutist Þuríður Jónsdóttir have been performed worldwide. Among them are pieces for solo instruments, ensembles and orchestra, some of them accompanied by electronic sounds or field recordings, some with the participation of the audience, and others with theatrical interaction. Jónsdóttir has collaborated with artists including Björk, Saeunn Thorsteinsdóttir, and Mario Caroli and received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Icelandic Symphony, National radios of Iceland, France and Germany, among others. She was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Price in 2006, 2010, and 2012 and awarded a Civitella Ranieri Music Fellowship in 2016. Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson (1925–2005) was among the first true modernists of Icelandic music. He began formal music studies at age eight; at eleven he became the youngest student ever admitted to the Reykjavík School of Music. His talent was matched by his ambition, and in 1946 he was admitted to the Juilliard School in New York, where he studied piano and composition for five years. It was at this time that Jóhannsson began experimenting with serial composition, including the Webern-inspired Four Abstractions (1950), the first Icelandic twelve-tone work. After the death of his wife, Jóhannsson struggled with alcoholism and composed nothing between 1972 and 1980. He returned to composing in 1980 with this stunningly simple Adagio for strings, celeste, and percussion. (Árni Heimir Ingólfsson) Veronique Vaka, born in 1986, is an Iceland-based Canadian composer. She took a step toward a more abstract approach to her music when she started her research: From Landscape to Music Notation. Her work intends to create a poetic context between what she sees, hears, and feels in unspoiled nature, and combine it into music. Her composition style can be described as organic, with an emphasis on small details such as rhythmic, textural, and timbral elements. Vaka’s works have been performed in Europe and North America and at festivals including Dark Music Days and Sumartónleikar í Skálholti. Her orchestral work Lendh was nominated for both The Icelandic Music Awards and the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2020. Haukur Tómasson, born in 1960, was awarded the 2004 Nordic Council Music Prize, the greatest honor awarded to a Nordic composer. This award, which Tómasson received for his chamber opera Guðrún’s 4th Song, firmly established his stature as one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding composers. The music of Haukur Tómasson is vibrant and scintillating, characterized by intense rhythmic activity, bright, colorful timbres, and a keen ear for novel and effective instrumental combinations. His music bustles with energy and is often quite complex, although the rapidly moving surface rhythm occasionally comes to a halt, giving way to slowly moving sonorities of imposing power and austere beauty. (Árni Heimir Ingólfsson) The Iceland Symphony Orchestra gave its first concert in 1950 and has since expanded from a part-time ensemble of forty players to an internationally renowned orchestra of eighty-five full-time musicians. As Iceland’s national orchestra, resident at Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík and funded in large part by the Icelandic state and the city of Reykjavík, it gives around a hundred concerts each season, its repertoire ranging from classical masterworks to contemporary and film music. It has worked with such renowned musicians as Daniel Barenboim, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Jonas Kaufmann, Isabelle Faust, and Evelyn Glennie. Currently Conductor Laureate, Vladimir Ashkenazy has conducted the orchestra regularly since the early 1970s. Among the orchestra’s former Chief Conductors are Petri Sakari, Rumon Gamba, Ilan Volkov, and Yan Pascal Tortelier. Osmo Vänska is Honorary Conductor, having worked closely with the orchestra since his tenure as Chief Conductor in the 1990s, and the highly acclaimed Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir is Composer-in-Residence. The Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen assumed the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in September 2020. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s wide-ranging international discography includes highly praised cycles of the symphonies of Sibelius and orchestral works by Jón Leifs. The first volume in the series devoted to orchestral works by Vincent d’Indy with Rumon Gamba was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008. Its most recent release, of symphonies by Charles Gounod, was an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and CD of the week in The Sunday Times. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has appeared widely throughout Europe, including performances at the BBC Proms and Wiener Musikverein, and in 2018 embarked on a highly successful three-week tour of Japan with Ashkenazy. It has also appeared twice in Carnegie Hall, New York. Writing in The New York Times, the critic Alex Ross described its performance under Osmo Vänskä as “sensational... one of the finest Sibelius performances I have encountered.” Track Listing for Occurrence | Sono Luminus | Release date: January 22, 2021 Iceland Symphony Orchestra | Daníel Bjarnason, conductor

1. Violin Concerto by Daníel Bjarnason [23:41] Pekka Kuusisto, violin (cadenza by Kuusisto)

2. Lendh by Veronique Vaka [11:36]

3. In Seventh Heaven by Haukur Tómasson [7:13]

4. Flutter by Þuríður Jónsdóttir [20:49]

Mario Caroli, flute

5. Adagio by Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson [7:19]

Total Time: 70:42

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