festive concert with Bach's beloved Christmas Oratorio to celebrate the
beginning of the 40th season of the Motet Choir and The Reykjavik Friends of
the Arts Society. Performers: The Motet Choir in Reykjavik, The Reykjavik
International Baroque Orchestra, concertmaster Tuomo Suni (
FI), Herdís Anna Jónasdóttir soprano, Alex Potter counter -tenor, Benjamin
Glaubitz tenor and Jóhann Kristinsson bass. Conductor is Hörður
Áskelsson, Artistic Director of The Reykjavik Friends of the Arts
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 Festivals including the Grand Prix prize at the Festival Cancó Mediterrània in Spain in 2014.
The Reykjavík International Baroque Orchestra is comprised of some of the finest musicians around the world, most having studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, one of the leading academies in baroque performance. The members have established themselves as highly sought after musicians in Europe, now regularly performing with some of theworld‘s leading ensembles and orchestras under the baton of acclaimed directors. These include the Ricercar Consort, Les Arts Florissants, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan, Concerto Copenhagen, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Collegium Vocale Gent, Capriccio Stravagante and Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, and directors such as Philippe Pierlot, William Christie, Masaaki Suzuki, Skip Sempé and Philippe Herreweghe. Members of The Reykjavik International Baroque Orchestra have frequently visited Iceland since 2004 and played under under the direction of Hörður Áskelsson , receiving wide acclaim for their performances.
Hörður Áskelsson was the main organist and cantor in Hallgrímskirkja from June 1982- June 2021. In the year 1982 he founded the Motet Choir of Hallgrímskirkja and was instigator of the founding of the Friends of the Arts Society of Hallgrímskirkja- now the Reykjavik Friends of the Arts Society. In 1996 Áskelsson founded the chamber choir Schola cantorum, which has already become one of Iceland’s most respected choirs. Hörður Áskelsson has received much recognition and conducted many oratorios, often with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and premiered a number of Icelandic compositions.With his choirs he has participated in various music festivals and international competitions, winning prizes. He has received many prizes including the Icelandic Music Prize in 2002 and the distinguished Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon in 2004. Hörður Áskelsson has also been a teacher of the organ and choir conducting at the Iceland National Church’s Music School and from 2005-2011 Hörður Áskelsson was the Church Music Director of the National Church of Iceland.