© Andri Hafliðason
One of the most important figures in this flowering of Icelandic music, Hafliði Hallgrímsson began his musical life as a cellist, spending twenty years playing with orchestras in Iceland, England and Scotland (Scottish Chamber Orchestra). A lifelong interest in writing music, and studies with Peter Maxwell Davies and Alan Bush, led him to give up his performing career in 1983 to compose full time. Unsurprisingly, works for strings are central to his catalogue, most of his large ensemble works being for strings only. Often inspired by visual art (Hallgrímsson is himself an accomplished painter), his unique language is both eerie and paradoxical. Recent years have seen an ever-increasing amount of interest in Hallgrímsson’s music, with a number of significant performances, and the release of a number of portrait CDs featuring his choral music, orchestral music, chamber works and keyboard music. In 2008 the Iceland Symphony Orchestra announced Hallgrímsson as their composer in residence – a three-year association that will encompass performances, new commissions, and a premiere recording of his 1st Symphony.'