Anna Thorvaldsdóttir


Last updated: September 14, 2021

Anna Thorvaldsdóttir (b. 1977) is an Icelandic composer whose “seemingly boundless textural imagination” (The New York Times) and “striking” (The Guardian) 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 and tends to evoke “a sense of place and personality” (The New York Times) through a distinctive “combination of power and intimacy” (Gramophone). “Never less than fascinating,” according to Gramophone Magazine, 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 music is widely performed internationally and has been commissioned by many of the world's leading orchestras, ensembles, and arts organizations. Portrait concerts with her music have been featured at several major venues and music festivals. Her works have been nominated and awarded on many occasions—most notably, her “confident and distinctive handling of the orchestra” (Gramophone) has garnered her the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize, the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer Award, and Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist Award and Martin E. Segal Award.

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. She is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Anna holds a Ph.D. from the University of California in San Diego.

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