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Iceland

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The history of music in Iceland has no parallel in other European countries, or, probably, anywhere else in the world. In Iceland the music of the "Middle Ages" predominated well into the nineteenth century. Due to Iceland's isolation, centuries of musical development on the European continent had gone by unnoticed. Even ordinary four-part choral singing was first heard in the fifth decade of the 19th century. Instrumental music, in the usual sense of that term, was non-existent.
When the "new" music finally found its way to Iceland, the population, with certain exceptions, especially as regards church music, proved to be more receptive than might have been expected. Latent creative talent soon emerged, and musical development has been exceedingly rapid in the twentieth century. In the 1980’s Icelandic music was on the world music map with the emergence of artists such as the Sugarcubes. In more recent years Iceland has seen international success of many more artists, such as Sigur Rós.
Classical music
Jón Leifs (1899-1968) is one of Iceland’s best known classical composer writing many of his works about Icelandic nature which bore titles such as Hekla, Dettifoss and Geysir. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1950 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009. Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has garnered an international reputation as well as cellist Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir and Daníel Bjarnason, a young classical composer and conductor.
Opera
The Icelandic Opera performs in Reykjavík and produces about two operas a year. Tenors Gardar Thor Cortez, Kristján Jóhannsson and bass Kristinn Sigmundsson are particularly well known.
Jazz
Mezzoforte is Iceland’s best known Jazz group but Iceland has many talented jazz artists such as Pétur Östlund, Skúli Sverrisson and Björn Thoroddsen.
Contemporary Music
Iceland’s best known contemporary music...

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