LA's Reykjavík Festival


From April 1 to June 4, the LA Phil will host the Reykjavík Festival, committed to showcasing the burgeoning music community of Iceland. Relative newcomers to the international art scene, Icelandic artists present fresh work in contemporary mediums. A new installation (pictured) by the artist Shoplifter will be on display in BP Hall for the duration of the festival and the Icelandic film "Driving at the speed of the Nordic sun" will be played in the amphitheater of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The highlight of the festival will be the series of concerts presented by the LA Phil in conjunction with Icelandic artists like Björk and the Schola Cantorum Reykjavík. The entire festival is curated by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Daníel Bjarnason.

The decision to showcase Icelandic music in Los Angeles is ostnesibly contrived; it's hard to imagine how two cities so far apart, both culturally and geographically, could have artistic kinship. In reality, the artists of Los Angeles see parallels in the emerging Icelandic music scene with the relatively new artistic scene of Los Angeles. LA has never reflected the great Germanic traditions of Europe. The music scene in this city has always been progressive and young in comparison to the other art capitals of the world. Seeing the art scene in Reykjavík emerge is a familiar sight to the LA community, and their decision to support them with a festival will strengthen the bond between the two cities and legitimize contemporary Icelandic culture.

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