Ambitious concerts by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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Ambitious concerts by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra will play a concert in Háskólabíó in Reykjavík tonight and in Torfunes in Ísafjördur, the Westfjords’ capital, tomorrow. Honorary conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy will lead the concerts.

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has not played in Ísafjördur since 1998. “It is very important to go to these places, where people have few opportunities to see symphony orchestras,” Ashkenazy said in an interview with Morgunbladid.

The orchestra will play works by Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and Hector Berlioz. “They all had strong personalities, but what is noteworthy is that Schumann was not only a great composer, but also a music critic,” Ashkenazy said.

“Once he compared Mendelssohn and Berlioz, so it is a funny coincidence that works by all three of them will be performed in those concerts,” Ashkenazy added.

Turkey’s best known pianist, Gülsin Onay, will play solo during the concerts. She told Morgunbladid that she is looking forward to working with Ashkenazy for the first time, because she has been a fan for many years.

Onay added that she had been a bit nervous, because Ashkenazy is such a skilled pianist. “Now I just feel comfortable in his presence,” she said. “He shows nothing but understanding and support.”

Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish father and a Russian Orthodox mother in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod), Russia, in 1937. He began studying music at the age of six.

Ashkenazy is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory and was awarded in the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1955 and in the 1962 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Ashkenazy has been an Icelandic citizen since 1972.