Surrounded by Strangers

Festival Location: St Nicholas Kirkyard

Moving Classics – European Network of New Music presented a one of its kind Immersive Digital Choir Installation. ‘Surrounded by Strangers’ was inspired from stories from the members of the South Iceland Chamber Choir who Eyvind interviewed, prompted, cajoled and confided in to reveal their own very personal understanding of being surrounded by strangers through their own narratives. With 12 screens placed in the circular room surrounding the audiences, each screen showed an individual member of the choir performing solo with a single audio track- when synced together audiences will experience the entire choir.

Aiming to address the issues of modern society where more and more of us fail to fit into the increasingly standardised norms he has purposefully followed the personalities and stories of his collaborators to create a piece that creates a space for their individuality, eccentricity and expression rather than a formalised framework for his own creative ambitions.  The result was a remarkable, personal and emotional experience with performers laying themselves bare through a piece of incredible music.

Surrounded by Strangers is produced through Moving Classics – European Network for New Music which is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


Twitter: @movingclassics

About the artists…

South Iceland Chamber Choir (SICC) / Kammerkór Suðurlands (Iceland) was founded in 1997 and is well known for its versatile repertoire ranging from jazz and pop music to compositions reflecting the newest trends in contemporary music. The choir has  collaborated with and premièred works by many outstanding composers, whose musical backgrounds and works range from pop and rock to classical. These include Sir John Tavener, Jack White, Emil Råberg, Eyvind Gulbrandsen, Bára Grímsdóttir and Kjartan Sveinsson from Sigur Ros.

Twitter: @Kammerkor

Eyvind Gulbrandsen is educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark and the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway under guidance by a.o. Karl Aage Rasmussen, Bent Sørensen, Rolf Wallin and Olav Anton Thommessen. For the last 15 years Gulbrandsen has lived and worked in Denmark as a freelance composer and a teacher in composition. His works include solo/chamber music, music for orchestra and theatre, electronic/electro-acoustic music and installations. His works often include performance, installations and scenery. He always work in close collaboration with his musicians to develop his compositions and in recent years has been focusing on the possibilities in co-creation with either the musicians, the audience, or both.

His main inspiration is the people he works with, the raw material for each piece being stories, objects or melodies regarding a certain topic or theme. Whichever route he explores his inspiration is most often the collected narratives of musicians’ lives seeing his pieces often being presented as a combination of a concert, intervention and installation; more an event, or happening, than a conventional performance. His 2012 piece “The Changeling”, co-created with the acclaimed folk singer Jullie Hjetland, won a special award from the Danish Arts Council and his works have been performed by acclaimed ensembles and musicians across the Nordic countries, Germany, England, USA and Canada and at festivals such as UNM, Nordic music Days, SPOR festival and Klang: Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival.


Twitter: @eyvgul