Davíð Þór Jónsson

Pianist Davíð Þór Jónsson is wildly versatile and creative artist with a special passion for improvisation. Since releasing his first solo album, Rask, in 2002, Davíð Þór has performed in a number of ensembles, including jazz trio Flís and AdHd, as well as collaborating with many of Iceland’s foremost musicians and theatre artists, as instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer.  Davíð Þór’s long-standing collaboration with visual artist Ragnar Kjartansson has yielded such works as “The End” (Iceland’s contribution to the 2009 Venice Biennale)  and “God” (2007). Davíð has received numerous awards for his music, including both the Icelandic Music Prize and the Icelandic Theatre Prize.

Eggert Pálsson

Eggert Pálsson was appointed first timpanist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 1987 and has held the post since. Apart from his orchestral work, he has performed in a variety of musical ensembles, including the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra, CAPUT Chamber Ensemble, La Cappella, Wiener Bach-Solisten and the BENDA percussion ensemble. Eggert is a founding member of Voces Thules, a vocal ensemble that has for years been a leading force in the performance and study of the music of the Icelandic medieval tradition. Pálsson has created music and soundscapes for theatre works at the National Theatre of Iceland, and teaches. Pálsson studied percussion and piano at the Reykjavík College of Music and the Vienna Conservatory.

István Várdai

Hungarian cello virtuoso István Várdai is the only cellist in the world to have won both the International Cello Competition in Geneva (2008) and the ARD Competition in Munich (2014). Since his debut concert in 1997 at The Hague, Várdai he has been a regular guest with such orchestras as the Russian National Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, working with conductors such as Ádám Fischer, Howard Griffith and Zoltán Kocsis. His chamber music partners include András Schiff, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Educated at the Liszt Academy in Budapest and at the Music Academy of Vienna, Vardai continued his studies at Kronberg Academy in Germany, where he has been on the staff since 2013.

Julien Quentin

French pianist Julien Quentin is a musician of great breadth, combining musical sensitivity and flawless technique. He has performed with orchestras such as the Wrocław Philharmonic, the Córdoba Philharmonic and the Indiana University Concert Orchestra under such conductors as Tommaso Placidi, Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, and Paul Biss. A prolific chamber musician, he has collaborated with musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Michael Collins, Sol Gabetta, Nelson Goerner and Ilya Gringolts, in high-profile festivals worldwide, including Verbier, Lucerne, La Jolla and Mostly Mozart. Born in Paris, Quentin studied at the Geneva Conservatoire, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School, where he studied under György Sándor.

Lars Anders Tomter

Norwegian Lars Anders Tomter is one of today’s leading violists, described in The Strad as “the giant of the Nordic viola”. In a career spanning a quarter of a century, Tomter has appeared worldwide in concert halls including the Vienna Musikverein, Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London and Konzerthaus Berlin. He has performed orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the major Scandinavian orchestras. A champion of new music, he has premiered concertos by composers like Rolf Wallin and Erkki-Sven Tüür. Tomter is a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and frequently performs at the world's leading music festivals.

Maxim Rysanov

Ukranian-british violist Maxim Rysanov has for many years been considered among the world’s finest violists. He has performed with orchestras such as Mariinsky Orchestra (under the baton of Valery Gergiev), the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony, as well as being a frequent guest at festivals like the BBC Proms in London, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and the Salzburg Festival in Austria. In additio to his performances as a soloist and chamber musician, Rysanov has in recent years attracted attention for his conducting. Rysanov was born in the Ukraine, but settled in London following his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music. Maxim Rysanov plays a Giuseppe Guadagnini viola (1780), on extended loan to him from the Elise Mathilde Foundation.

Nicolas Altstaedt

Renowned for his beautiful sound and effortless virtuosity, German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is a highly sought-after soloist, play/conductor and chamber musician on the international stage. This season, Altstaedt makes his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra with a play/conduct programme and premieres Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto at the Helsinki Festival with Salonen conducting, while recital appearances include a return to Carnegie Hall with pianist Fazil Say. Highlights of the 2016/17 include performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, and Strasbourg Philharmonique under the baton of Leif Segerstam. Altstaedt is the Artistic Director of the Haydn Philharmonie, and in 2012 succeeded Gidon Kremer as the Artistic Director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. Altstaedt plays a Giulio Cesare Gigli cello, Rome around 1760.

Pétur Grétarsson


Percussionist Pétur Grétarsson has been active on the Icelandic music scene for over 25 years and has collaborated with an impressive range of artists from all over the world. He has given numerous solo recitals and appeared with various ensembles, performing his own and other composers’ music. He has also written music for films and the theatre. Grétarsson studied percussion at Reykjavík College of Music and later jazz, percussion and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was the artistic director of Reykjavík Jazz Festival for many years, and currently hosts a popular daily radio programme on music at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

Rosanne Philippens

Rosanne Philippens is one of the Netherlands’ fines violinists, whose open and communicative style of performance has won her first prizes at competitions including the Dutch National Violin Competition (2009) and the Freiburg International Violin Competition (2014). She has worked with conductors such as Yannick Nézét-Sequin, Xian Zhang and Stefan Asbury and appeared with orchestras including the Philharmonic orchestras of Freiburg and Stuttgart, Barcellona Symphony Orchestra,  the Rotterdam Philharmonic Strings and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Philippens is an avid chamber musician and has led the Allegra Quartet for many years. Determined to stretch musical boundaries, Philippens’ own repertoire goes beyond the classical one and includes gypsy music and bluegrass. Philippens holds degrees from The Royal Conservatory in Hague and the Hanns Eisler Akademie in Berlin.

Sayaka Shoji

Since violin virtuoso Sayaka Shoji won First Prize at the 1999 Paganini Competition, the first Japanese and youngest artist ever to  do so, she has performed with the world’s top orchestras and leading conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons,  Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov, Paavo Järvi and Antonio Pappano. Shoji appears regularly as a recitalist and chamber musician alongside artists such as Joshua Bell, Vadim Repin, Julian Quentin and Steven Isserlis. Praised for her “richly resonant, spirited sound” as well as “the poetic delicacy of her phrasing” (Gramophone), Shoji has recorded multiple discs for Deutsche Grammophon. Sayaka Shoji plays a 1729 Recamier Stradivarius – kindly loaned to her by Ueno Fine Chemicals Industry Ltd.

Siggi String Quartet

Siggi String Quartet was formed in 2012. Its members have all been prominent in the Icelandic music scene in recent years and are all members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. They are: Una Sveinbjarnardóttir, violin, Laufey Jensdóttir, violin (covering for Helga Þóra Björgvinsdóttir, violin), Þórunn Ósk Marínósdóttir, viola, and Sigurður Bjarki Gunnarsson, cello. Siggi String Quartet offers programs of extreme stylistic range, from Bach and Beethoven to the most adventurous modern repertoire. The quartet has been in collaboration with numerous composers and premiered works by Haukur Tómasson, Atli Heimir Sveinsson, Una Sveinbjarnardóttir, Halldór Smárason, Daníel Bjarnason, Bára Gísladóttir, Finnur Karlsson and Haukur Harðarson.

Steef van Oosterhout

Steef van Oosterhout


Steef van Oosterhout is the principal percussionist of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. Since his graduation from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam in 1987, he has played with a variety of chamber ensembles, including the ASKO ensemble, the Schönberg ensemble and the Nederlands blazers ensemble, as well as orchestras such as the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. Since his appointment to the ISO in 1991, he has been an active member of the new music ensemble CAPUT,  Contrasti, and the the percussion ensemble Benda.

Víkingur Ólafsson

Piano / Artistic Director

Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson enjoys working with some of today’s leading musicians.  Víkingur’s 2016/17 season included performances with NDR Elbphilhamonie Orchester and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Iceland Symphony Orchestra with Yan Pascal Tortelier and MDR Sinfonieorchester with Kristjan Järvi. In recital he makes his debut at Konzerthaus Berlin, Wiener Konzerthaus, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg as well in Leipzig and at the Istanbul Music Festival. Víkingur’s recent Deutsche Grammophon release of Philip Glass’s piano works has been met with unanimous praise from critics in outlets such as Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. Víkingur has premiered 6 Icelandic Piano Concertos and worked with composers including Philip Glass, Haukur Tómasson, Mark Simpson and Daníel Bjarnason. He is the artistic director of Reykjavík Midsummer Music and Vinterfest in Sweden. Víkingur is nominated for the 2017 Nordic Council Music Prize.
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Vilde Frang

Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang is among the most sought-after violinists of today, as both soloist and chamber musician. Since making her concert debut with the Oslo Philharmonic at the age of 12, Frang has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras, such as Mahler Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of conductors such as Valerie Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mariss Jansons and Paavo Järvi. Her recordings for Warner Classics have earned her numerous prizes, such as the Classical BRIT-awards as well as the ECHO Awards and Gramophone Awards. Vilde Frang plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume from 1864.