It’s not every day that one can afford the luxury of listening to a classical concert performed in one of the most breathtaking man-made venues in the world. Or at least that was the case until last year, when Icelandic pianist Nína Margrét Grímsdóttir had an idea that has been revolutionising the way we experience Harpa Concert Hall and classical music itself.
Reykjavík Classics is Nína’s creative child—a series of thirty-minute concerts where artists of the highest calibre perform twice a day every day for the entire summer in the fiery setting of Eldborg, the largest concert hall in Harpa.
Setting the stage
Until last year, tourists who came to visit Harpa could only walk around the building, appreciate the ever-changing flickering lights of the windows and quickly step into the dark concert halls. With the lights turned off and their stages empty, devoid of everything that gives them meaning, the halls were neither understood nor experienced as they were supposed to be.
“The idea was to give both tourists and locals the possibility to experience Eldborg exactly as it was intended: as a concert hall,” Nína explains. As the artistic director, she oversees the choice of themes and materials, keeping it as diverse as possible. Every week the material changes, and it’s not just a matter of looking at classical music through different perspectives. “The point of changing so regularly is to make sure people feel and hear the full potential of the hall and its flexibility when it comes to acoustics,” Nína affirms.
A natural logic
Nína’s effort widens the angle of cultural tourism in Iceland. While the artists do not perform Icelandic music, these classical masterpieces are executed by some of the best musicians in the country. It’s almost embarrassing to think that no one had come up with this idea before Nína, considering how natural its logic sounds. Hopefully, it will breathe extra life into a national gem that has been silent too often.
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