The Motet Choir with the Reykjavík International Baroque Orchestra and four excellent soloists perform Handel‘s Messiah conducted by Hörður Áskelsson in Harpa Concert Hall (Eldborg) Sunday 20 November 2022 5 pm
The Motet Choir and the Reykjavík Friends of the Arts Society celebrate their 40th anniversary with a festive concert in the beautiful Eldborg Hall of Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík performing George Frideric Handel‘s timeless masterpiece Messiah. The acclaimed Reykjavík International Baroque Orchestra accompanies the choir and four outstanding soloists, all conducted by Hörður Áskelsson.
The Motet Choir, founded in 1982, has long been one of the leading choirs in Iceland. Its large and diverse repertoire includes a number of oratorios, passions and requiems, as well as a cappella sacred music from various periods. The choir has also premiered many Icelandic compositions. The choir has toured widely and performed in some of Europe’s most prominent cathedrals and at various festivals. The Motet Choir has recorded and released many CDs earning international acclaim as well as winning prizes at choir compositions. The choir received the Icelandic Music Award for its performance of Bach‘s Christmas Oratorio in Harpa last year.
The Reykjavík International Baroque Orchestra is comprised of excellent musicians from around the world, most having studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, one of the leading academies in historically informed performance. Since their graduation, members of the orchestra have established themselves as highly sought-after musicians all over the world, regularly performing with leading ensembles and orchestras that specialize in historically informed performance. The group has been lauded for its many performances in Iceland since 2004. Concertmaster of the orchestra is the Finnish violinist Tuomo Suni.
Hörður Áskelsson is one of Iceland‘s major cultural figures, both in his capacity as organist and conductor, and as the artistic leader of Hallgrímskirkja‘s vibrant music life for nearly 40 years, 1982–2021. With the Motet Choir and the chamber choir Schola Cantorum he has performed a great number of oratorios and premiered several major works by Icelandic composers. He has given concerts in many of the most renowned churches of Europe, both as organist and conductor, participated in various music festivals and international competitions and received numerous prizes and awards.
Berit Norbakken is one of Norway’s leading sopranos. She appears regularly as a soloist with distinguished orchestras at major concert halls such as the Sidney Opera House and the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, under the baton of conductors like Robert King, Daniel Reuss and Mikhail Pletnev. Norbakken vowed the audience when she sang the title role of Gospel of Mary by Hugi Guðmundsson in the world premiere performance of the oratorio conducted by Hörður Áskelsson at the Reykjavík Arts Festival in June of this year.
Alex Potter from England is one of the foremost countertenors in the world and a highly respected interpreter of baroque music. He has performed with leading conductors, including Philippe Herreweghe, Thomas Hengelbrock and Lars Ulrik Mortensen. Alongside numerous performances of works by Bach, Handel and other established composers, he takes particular interest in seeking out and singing lesser-known repertoire. Potter performed to great acclaim in Bach‘s Christmas Oratorio with the Motet Choir and Hörður Áskelsson in Harpa Concert Hall last year.
Tenor Elmar Gilbertsson and baritone Oddur Arnþór Jónsson are two of Iceland‘s most accomplished and celebrated young singers. They have both performed extensively abroad, in concert and on stage. Oddur Arnþór was named the Brightest Hope at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2014 and Singer of the Year in 2018 and Elmar has twice been named Singer of the Year at the Music Awards. Both singers were members of the Motet Choir during their student years.