Performer, composer, curator Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir is one of Iceland’s leading figures within the early and contemporary music scene. She has been the artistic director of Nordic Affect since its inception in 2005. Halla Steinunn’s work has been a tour de force when it comes to work with composers, visual artists, and producers. She is driven by an ecosystemic outlook on creation, set to further explore its world making possibilities through music‘s many mediated relationships.
Halla Steinunn’s playing is featured on albums on the Sono Luminus, Brilliant Classics, Bad Taste Records, Musmap, Tally and Carrier Records labels. They have received various accolades, including The Iceland Music Award and the Swedish Manifest Prize. The album Clockworking which included her solo performances of music by Hildur Guðnadóttir and María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir was featured in a row of best-of-the-year lists, including Night After Night, The Chicago Reader, and The New Yorker. She has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and instrumental improviser at festivals such as SPOR festival (DK), Skaņu Mežs (LV), TRANSIT Festival (BE), Dark Music Days (IS), November Music (NL), KLANG (DK), Iceland Airwaves (IS), Estonian Music Days (EE) Ensems Festival (SP), North Atlantic Flux (UK), Imago Dei festival (AU) and GAS festival (SE). She has toured twice with Nordic Affect in the U.S., playing at venues such as National Sawdust and Spectrum in New York, Constellation in Chicago, the UC Berkley Art Museum and within the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Reykjavík Festival.
Her compositional output has spanned everything from electro-acoustic compositions to sound and media installations. 2018 saw the release of her work He(a)r on Nordic Affect’s album by the same title. The album was featured in various best-of- the-year lists, including The Boston Globe, I Care if You Listen, Morgunblaðið and Second Inversion. Recent projects have included Spherical White with Diamond, a site-respondent installation created for Curated Place and NATUR (UK) in collaboration with National Trust Formby (UK) and Fjärilarna steg upp (The butterflies ascended) an installation of 8 mono channels created for The Botanical Garden in Lund (SE). Among upcoming projects is the stage production Mylla done in collaboration with director Liv Kaastrup Vesterskov and Gylleboverket in Sweden, and a Canadian commission, created in collaboration with composer Rebecca Bruton for ‘SPHERE: The NAC Orchestra's Festival for Ecological Attunement’, curated by Angela Rawlings.
With degrees from The Royal Danish Academy of Music and Indiana University School of Music Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir now holds a PhD position in artistic research at Lund University, Sweden.
"Decades ago the Sugarcubes proved to the rest of the world that Icelandic rock was its own original creation - now Nordic Affect promises to do the same for the country's new-music community."
…perhaps the Ginnungagap out of which all music springs
Nordic Affect merits praise for advancing the chamber recording concept in such imaginative manner.