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Press Releases

The New York Philharmonic Gives the US Premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s CATAMORPHOSIS Conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali

January 3, 2023 | By Christina Jensen
Jensen Artists

Thursday, January 12-14, 2023

Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall

10 Lincoln Center Plaza | New York, NY

Tickets: https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/2223/rouvali-rite-of-spring


“one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” – NPR


“With her music’s humbling vastness and depth of colour, [Thorvaldsdottir] is a force to be reckoned with.” – Gramophone




Watch an Excerpt from CATAMORPHOSIS performed by the Berlin Philharmonic: https://youtu.be/oWa6BjRQ0H0


New York, NY – The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, will give the US premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s critically acclaimed orchestral work CATAMORPHOSIS in performances from January 12-14, 2023 at Lincoln Center’s Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall. The program also includes Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 performed by violinist Nemanja Radulovic.


The US premiere of CATAMORPHOSIS follows the world premiere of Thorvaldsdottir’s piece METACOSMOS by the New York Philharmonic in 2018. CATAMORPHOSIS was co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Iceland Symphony Orchestra.


CATAMORPHOSIS was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Kirill Petrenko in January 2021, and is available to watch in the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert HallThe Guardian raved, “Thorvaldsdottir’s impressive new work was detailed and powerful ... Lasting around 20 minutes, it’s a single movement of restrained power, a continuum of shifting, colliding layers of sound, which are minutely detailed in the score yet manage to seem simultaneously massive and delicate as they move from dense chromaticism to moments of almost lucid tonality ... this scrupulously prepared and wonderfully performed premiere showed that it’s a piece that stands entirely on its own feet, creating an utterly convincing musical world.”


Of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s UK premiere of the piece in June 2022, The Times reported, “[Thorvaldsdottir] has carved her own corner in contemporary music by creating symphonic works of sustained brilliance and considerable power from the steady collision, growth and mutation of precisely imagined sounds and textures, and even some conventional chords ... Despite the giddy variety of shapes and colours, Thorvaldsdottir’s tight control over her material never slackened... [Ludovic] Morlot and his forces gave a spectacular rendition of a work that fully deserves an extended life.”


Anna Thorvaldsdottir writes in her note on CATAMORPHOSIS: “The core inspiration behind CATAMORPHOSIS is the fragile relationship we have to our planet. The aura of the piece is characterized by the orbiting vortex of emotions and the intensity that comes with the fact that if things do not change it is going to be too late, risking utter destruction – catastrophe. The core of the work revolves around a distinct sense of urgency, driven by the shift and pull between various polar forces – power and fragility, hope and despair, preservation and destruction.”


Additional upcoming U.S. highlights for Anna include performances of METACOSMOS by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tabita Berglund on January 20-21, 2023; a new string quartet for the Danish String Quartet touring in 2023 including an April 20 performance at Carnegie Hall; the U.S. premiere of ARCHORA by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Eva Ollikainen on May 13-14; and the premiere of a new work for Claire Chase at Carnegie Hall on May 25, 2023.


CATAMORPHOSIS is part of the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19.


About Anna Thorvaldsdottir:

Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s (b. 1977) “seemingly boundless textural imagination” (The New York Times) and striking sound world has made her “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” (NPR). Her music is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material – it is written as an ecosystem of sounds, where materials continuously grow in and out of each other, often inspired in an important way by nature and its many qualities, in particular structural ones, like proportion and flow.


Anna’s “detailed and powerful” (The Guardian) orchestral writing has garnered her awards from the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, the Nordic Council, and the UK’s Ivors Academy, as well as commissions by many of the world’s top orchestras. Recent and upcoming highlights in addition to the premiere performances of CATAMORPHOSIS include ARCHORA - the latest addition to Anna’s “ever-growing and ever more essential catalog of orchestral pieces” (BBC Radio 3) - which was premiered at the BBC Proms in August 2022, by the BBC Philharmonic and Eva Ollikainen. The work will receive its US premiere with the LA Philharmonic and Eva Ollikainen in May 2023.


And “while [she] has made the symphony orchestra her own,” according to Gramophone, “her chamber music is cut from the same cloth and somehow sounds with much the same combination of immensity and intimacy.” Anna’s recent string quartet Enigma was recorded and released by Sono Luminus in August 2021, performed by the Spektral Quartet, and was one of The New York Times’s recordings of the year (“a masterly entrance to the genre”). Portrait albums with Anna’s works have appeared on Deutsche Grammophon, Sono Luminus, and Innova.


Anna’s music is widely performed internationally and has been commissioned by many of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles, and arts organizations – such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Intercontemporain, BBC Proms, and Carnegie Hall. Among the many other orchestras and ensembles that have performed her music include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, BBC Singers, The Crossing, the Bavarian Radio Choir, Münchener Kammerorchester, Avanti Chamber Ensemble, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.


Portrait concerts with Anna’s music have been featured at several major venues and music festivals, including Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, London’s Spitalfields Music Festival, Münchener Kammerorchester’s Nachtmusic der Moderne series, the Composer Portraits Series at NYC’s Miller Theatre, the Leading International Composers series at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’s Point Festival. Other prominent venues and festivals include the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh Festival, London’s Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, Lucerne Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Nordic Music Days, Ultima Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Tectonics, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Helsinki’s Musica Nova Festival, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.


Anna is currently based in the London area. She regularly teaches and gives presentations on composition, in academic settings, as part of residencies, and in private lessons. Invited lectures and presentations include Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Sibelius Academy, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Anna is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. She holds a PhD (2011) from the University of California in San Diego.


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