Nordic Cool 2013

International Festival of Theater, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Literature, Design, and Film To Highlight Culture of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden As Well as Territories of Greenland, the Faroe and Åland Islands

In Ticketed and Free Events Throughout the Kennedy Center | February 19 – March 17, 2013


Royal Dramatic Theatre (Stockholm, Sweden)
Fanny and Alexander by Ingmar Bergman
Directed by Stefan Larsson
Eisenhower Theater

The Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm, Sweden presents the U.S. premiere of the stage performance of Ingmar Bergman's Oscar-winning feature film and television drama Fanny and Alexander directed by Stefan Larsson. Bergman was managing director of the theater from 1963-1966. Jan Malmsjö, who played Bishop Edvard Vergerus in the film version, is part of the cast for this production. The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern or Dramaten) is Sweden's national theater. Founded in 1788 by King Gustav III, it has been home to legendary theater and film directors such as Alf Sjöberg and Ingmar Bergman who have shaped Sweden's theatrical history. Fanny and Alexander is a drama set in the early 1900s that revolves around the wealthy Ekdahl family, including the widow Helen and her three sons. The eldest son Oscar runs a theater with his wife Emelie. After Oscar's premature death, Emelie marries the bishop of the city and moves with her children, Fanny and Alexander, to his home where the atmosphere is strict and austere.

Tampere Workers Theatre (Tampereen Työväen Teatteri) (Tampere, Finland)
The Warmblooded by Sirkku Peltola
Riku Suokas, Artistic Director and General Manager
Eisenhower Theater

One of the largest national theaters in Finland, the Tampere Workers Theatre (or Tampereen Työväen Teatteri/TTT) was founded in 1901 in Tampere, Finland, the country's theater capital and home to the renowned Tampere Theatre Festival. Written and directed by Sirkku Peltola, The Warmblooded (Lämminveriset) is the third in the award-winning trilogy chronicling the diminishing fortunes of the Kotala family. Once the proud owners of a small farm, and later housed by the council in a one room flat, the Kotalas are now destitute and living in the underpass of a disused motorway flyover, along with a motley crew of drunks and Romanian gypsies. Though the lives of society's outcasts are dismal, there is always room for warmth and rays of light. Enthusiastically received at its premiere in 2011, the play is a comedic, warm-hearted look at Finnish life.

National Theatre (Oslo, Norway)
The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Anders Paulin
Eisenhower Theater

The National Theatre from Oslo, Norway presents The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen. Norway's largest theater, the National Theatre is steeped in tradition yet continues to push boundaries. The theater has a long association with Henrik Ibsen and most of his plays have been performed there. The Wild Duck begins with the homecoming of Gregers Werle, who arrives to find his old friend, Hjalmar Ekdal, involved in a scandalous lie, of which he has no knowledge. Gregers is determined to expose the lie, involving an affair between his father and Hjalmar's wife, Gina. Meanwhile, Ekdal's daughter Hedvig is losing her eyesight and spends her days playing in the attic with a captive wild duck. This production is part of the biennial International Ibsen Festival taking place in summer 2012 and is sponsored by the National Theatre. The festival will showcase dramatic art from seven different countries and three continents for more than two weeks.

Vesturport (Reykjavik, Iceland)
In collaboration with Teater Får302 (Denmark), Reykjavik City Theatre (Iceland),and Malmö City Theatre (Sweden)
Bastard—A Family Saga, directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson
Based on Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov
Eisenhower Theater

Icelandic theater collective Vesturport teams up with Teater Får302, Reykjavik City Theatre, and Malmö City Theatre to produce this international collaboration based on Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, with a cast and creative team from Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland. Founded in 2001, Vesturport made an international name for itself, touring with ground-breaking productions like David Farr and Gisli Örn Gardarsson's theatrically explosive Metamorphosis, with music by Nick Cave, which was produced in conjunction with the Lyric Hammersmith in London and appeared at the BAM Next Wave Festival in 2010. The Reykjavik City Theatre is the municipal theater of Iceland's capital city and ranks among Iceland's oldest and most prestigious cultural institutions.  The theater was founded in 1897 and is now, alongside the National Theatre of Iceland, one of the two preeminent dramatic stages in the nation. Founded in 1933, Malmö City Theatre is one of Sweden's leading theaters, producing both new plays and classic masterpieces. The innovative and award winning Teater Får302 is the only ensemble theater in Copenhagen, and bills itself as "Denmark's most intimate professional theater", their performances taking place in what was once a living room.

Winter Guests (Bergen, Norway)
Bird in Magic Rain with Tears
Written by Alan Lucien Øyen and Andrew Wale
Directed by Alan Lucien Øyen
Terrace Theater

Alan Lucien Øyen is one of Norway's most exciting up-and-coming artists whose work as dancer, writer, choreographer and director has been highly acclaimed in his home country and abroad. His company Winter Guests was founded in 2004 and received great critical acclaim for its 2009 production of AMERICA – Visions of Love.

A piece about longing and coming to terms with one's current situation or predicament, Bird in Magic Rain with Tears, written by Alan Lucien Øyen and Andrew Wale and directed by Alan Lucien Øyen, draws real life inspiration from the biography, Storeulv, about Norwegian shipping mogul John Fredriksen. A multi-media two-act play about longing and coming to terms with one's current situation or predicament, the plot revolves around three characters whose fates are coincidentally intertwined: a conceptual artist trying to get past the death of her son, a boy-prostitute vainly looking to find the truth about his past, and a terminally ill businessman longing for the love his marriage could never provide.


Carte Blanche, the Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance (Bergen, Norway)
Bruno Heynderickx, Artistic Director
Corps de Walk by Sharon Eyal and Gai Bachar
Terrace Theater

Carte Blanche will present Corps de Walk by Sharon Eyal and Gai Bachar. The world premiere of this piece was performed during the International Baltic Cities Festival in May 2011. Carte Blanche's repertoire includes work by celebrated contemporary choreographers and the company emphasizes commissioning new works. Carte Blanche produces a minimum of three new choreographic works a year and performs an average of four to six productions every year. Choreographers who have recently worked with the company include Sharon Eyal, Ina Christel Johannessen, Rui Horta, Gai Bachar, and Alan Lucien Øyen. In 2008, Belgian Bruno Heynderickx became artistic director, the first from outside the Nordic countries.

Danish Dance Theatre (Dansk Danseteater) (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Tim Rushton, Choreographer and Artistic Director
Love Songs by Tim Rushton
Terrace Theater

Danish Dance Theatre is one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in Scandinavia. Choreographer Tim Rushton became Artistic Director in 2001, bringing a new vision and direction to the company. Today, the company has a strong repertoire that is in demand all over the world, and is continually producing new works to both audience and media acclaim. Tim Rushton's individual style and close collaboration with the dancers bridges many boundaries of style and technique and he has developed a unique ability to reflect the nuances of human emotions and relationships in his work. The Danish Dance Theatre performs regularly at many venues in Copenhagen including the Royal Danish Theatre, Hippodromen, and Dansehallerne. The Danish Dance Theatre also tours internationally. In 2011, the company toured throughout Europe and the United States, as well as to Jordan, Israel, Syria, Australia, China, Russia, Egypt, Tanzania, and South Africa. While most of the Danish Dance Theatre's work is choreographed by Tim Rushton, they also feature work by other choreographers such as Tina Tarpgaard, who choreographed Frost, which won the 2010 Reumert Award.

Danish Dance Theatre will present the piece Love Songs by Tim Rushton. The work premiered in May 2011 at The Royal Danish Theatre.

Iceland Dance Company (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Katrín Hall, Artistic Director
Terrace Theater

Under the Artistic Direction of Katrín Hall, the Iceland Dance Company (IDC) has gained recognition as a world class contemporary dance company. The company will present a mixed program including Großstadtsafari, by Norwegian choreographer Jo Strömgren, and The Swan choreographed by Lára Stefánsdóttir from Iceland.

IDC has a repertoire of works by many of Europe's leading contemporary choreographers including Rui Horta, Jirí  Kylián, Richard Wherlock, Itzik Galili, Stijn Celis, Rami Be'er, Ina Christel Johannessen, Alexander Ekman, Roberto Olivan, Andre Gingras, Alan Lucien Øyen, and Damien Jalet. Icelandic choreographers who have worked with IDC include Erna Ómarsdóttir, and Steinunn and Brian. IDC's repertoire has placed it in a unique position in the international dance scene. The Iceland Dance Company tours internationally, primarily throughout Europe, but also to North America and Asia. Their first U.S. tour took place in 2007, touring the east coast at venues in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York, where they performed at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts.

The Göteborg Ballet (Gothenburg, Sweden)
Adolphe Binder, Artistic Director
Eisenhower Theater

Having transitioned from solely classical ballet to also focusing heavily on contemporary dance, The Göteborg Ballet, comprised of 40 dancers, is now the largest modern dance company in the Nordic region and tours nationally and internationally. In recent years, the company focused on new creations by contemporary choreographers such as Wim Vandekeybus, Johan Inger, Alexander Ekman, and Gunilla Heilborn. Leading Swedish choreographer Mats Ek choreographed a number of successful works for the Göteborg Ballet, including his world-famous production of Giselle, which premiered in 1999 and was met with great success. Most recently, the Göteborg Ballet presented its premiere of Mats Ek's Sleeping Beauty, which was originally performed in 1996 by the Hamburg Ballet. Repertoire will be announced at a later date.
Formerly the Artistic Director of the Berlin Ballet at Komische Oper and the Head Dramatic Advisor of the dance company of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Adolphe Binder became Artistic Director of The Göteborg Ballet in 2011, the first woman to hold the post in 35 years.

Tero Saarinen Company (Helsinki, Finland)
Tero Saarinen, Artistic Director
Eisenhower Theater

The Tero Saarinen Company, founded by dancer-choreographer Tero Saarinen in 1996, aims to promote a humane worldview and basic human values through the language of dance, while increasing people's understanding of their own physicality and its significance for a good life. Saarinen is known for his unique movement language that plays with balance and imbalance. His choreographic style reflects influences ranging from Butoh and the martial arts to classical ballet and Western contemporary dance. Tero Saarinen Company is in permanent residence at the Alexander Theatre, former home of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, in Helsinki. Saarinen's choreography can also be seen in works commissioned by other prominent dance groups, including the Nederlands Dans Theater, the Batsheva Dance Company, the Göteborg Ballet, the Lyon Opera Ballet, and the Finnish National Ballet, among many others. In 2005, Saarinen was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal, the most prestigious recognition given to artists in Finland. The company will perform Westward Ho!, Wavelengths, and HUNT—an acclaimed contemporary reinterpretation of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring—choreographed by Tero Saarinen.


National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach, music director of both the Kennedy Center and the National Symphony Orchestra, will lead three performances of music from Finland. Pekka Kuusisto, the first Finn to win the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, will make his NSO debut with the Violin Concerto of Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho's Orion will receive its first NSO performances. The program is framed by works of Sibelius, the composer who did the most to delineate Finland's musical identity. The Symphony No. 6 opens the concert, and No. 7 is the concluding work.

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Stockholm, Sweden)
Sakari Oramo, Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor
Concert Hall

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) celebrates its 110th anniversary in 2012 and, with its already rich history, continues to perform to international critical acclaim under its current Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor Sakari Oramo. Founded in 1902 and housed in the Stockholm Concert Hall since 1926, the RSPO has a long and eventful history, and has performed under several legendary conductors including Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Leopold Stokowski, Ferenc Fricsay, Otto Klemperer, Rafael Kubelík, and Sir Georg Solti. Past Chief Conductors include Antal Doráti (who was simultaneously Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra), Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Andrew Davis, Paavo Järvi, and Alan Gilbert. It is the official orchestra for the Nobel Prize Awards.

Sakari Oramo (Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor) joined the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is 2008. Originally from Helsinki, Finland, he began his career as a solo violinist and concertmaster with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His conducting career began entirely by accident when, in 1993, he stepped in to conduct the FRSO, replacing a sick conductor, to much critical acclaim. From there he was promoted to Associate Principal Conductor and, in 2003, Music Director, which he held until spring 2012. In 1998 he became the Principal Conductor, and later Music Director, of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham, England. In 2004 Mr. Oramo co-founded the West Coast Kokkola Opera, where he is the Principal Conductor. In February 2012, he was named Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, beginning with the 2013 season.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, under Sakari Oramo, will perform at the opening of the Nordic festival, in a program featuring works by composers from the various Nordic countries.

Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Ilan Volkov, Music Director and Chief Conductor
Concert Hall

Founded in 1950, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra has distinguished itself as one of the leading Nordic orchestras through its acclaimed performances and recordings. The artistic achievement of the ISO is even more remarkable given that in Iceland, the classical music tradition only began in the 20th century.

Past Music Directors include Osmo Vänskä (Finland), Rico Saccani (US), and Rumon Gamba (UK). The orchestra also maintains a long-standing relationship with Vladimir Ashkenazy, who began conducting in Iceland in 1972 and now holds the post of Conductor Laureate. Gennady Rozhdestvensky was the orchestra's first Principal Guest Conductor, leading the orchestra in a series of concerts in 2011.

The Iceland Symphony gives around 60 concerts each season, and has performed in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, France, and the United States, including two appearances in Carnegie Hall, in 1996 and again in 2000. Writing in the New York Times, critic Alex Ross described the Iceland Symphony's performance under Osmo Vänskä as "staggeringly good", and "sensational... one of the finest Sibelius performances I have encountered."

Ilan Volkov was born in Israel in 1976, and was appointed Young Conductor in Association to the Northern Sinfonia at the age of 19. In 1997 he became Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and two years later was invited by Seiji Ozawa to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Conductor. He was Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2009, subsequently becoming Principal Guest Conductor.
Ilan Volkov is a frequent guest with orchestras throughout the world, including the Israel and Munich Philharmonic orchestras, the Bamberg, City of Birmingham, Melbourne and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony orchestras, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), Orchestre de Paris, and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is also one of the guiding forces behind Levontin 7, a performance venue in Tel Aviv that brings together differing musical genres, including classical, jazz, electronic and rock.

Fortas and Kennedy Center Chamber Players Concerts

The Kennedy Center's Fortas Chamber Music Concerts in the Terrace Theater will feature three different performances linked to Nordic Cool 2013. Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen performs works by Grieg, Nielsen and Mozart. Trio con Brio Copenhagen will perform Phantasmagoria, a work composed for them by Denmark's Bent Sørensen, as well as works by Ravel and Mendelssohn. Sweden's Anne Sofie von Otter—who also will appear with the NSO—and Swedish pianist Bengt Forsberg appear in a recital whose program will be announced later in the season. Additionally, the Kennedy Center Chamber Players, comprised of principal musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra, will perform Danish composer Carl Nielson's Serenata in vano.

Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is widely regarded as one of the finest singers of her generation. She works with the pre-eminent conductors of the day, has performed at the world's major opera houses, and is a regular guest at leading festivals. Anne Sofie von Otter has also achieved great success as a Lieder interpreter, mostly in collaboration with Bengt Forsberg, with whom she has appeared in recital since 1980.

One of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland today, Juho Pohjonen has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country's most intriguing and talented pianists, widely praised for his interpretations of music from Bach to Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Nordic Council Music Prize

The Nordic Council Music Prize is awarded annually by NOMUS, the Nordic Music Committee. It is awarded alternately to a performing musician or group, and for a work by a living composer.

During the festival, we will present a performance featuring recent awardees of the prize or their music.

Víkingur Ólafsson, piano (Iceland)
Family Theater

Hailed by the London Times as a "rising star of the piano," Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson is establishing his reputation as an exceptional musician whose wide ranging activities encompass solo and chamber performances, commissioning of new works, giving lectures and master classes. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Víkingur has collaborated with musicians ranging from Björk to Martin Fröst and has performed under the baton of conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy and Roberto Abbado. A passionate advocate for new music, Víkingur has premiered concertos written for him by Haukur Tómasson, Daníel Bjarnason and Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, as well as solo and chamber music by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Atli Heimir Sveinsson. He has appeared with orchestras including the Ulster Orchestra, Turku Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony and New Juilliard Ensemble. Víkingur is currently filming 10 episodes on music for Icelandic National Television to be aired in 2013, exploring wide-ranging aspects of music through performances, interviews and discussions. Chosen by Ashkenazy to be the soloist in the May 2011 inauguration concerts of Harpa, Reykjavik's long awaited symphony hall, Víkingur will be the artistic director of a new chamber music festival there, which will take place annually around the summer solstice.


Tord Gustavsen Ensemble (Norway)
Terrace Theater

Pianist Tord Gustavsen, a solid fixture in the Norwegian jazz scene for many years, has released four critically acclaimed albums on ECM Records with his ensemble and trio, including The Ground and Restored, Returned (2009/2010) which won the Norwegian Spellemannsprisen. His most recent album, The Well, was released in early 2012 to critical acclaim. Influenced by Scandinavian folk music, gospel, Caribbean music and cool jazz, Gustavsen's unique mix of Nordic introspection and lyricism makes his an intriguing voice in music today.

Jacob Anderskov's Agnostic Revelations (Denmark) 
Jazz Club

The pianist, composer and band-leader Jacob Anderskov is mostly known for his bands: Anderskov Accident, Jacob Anderskov's Agnostic Revelations, Jacob Anderskov PÅ Dansk, An Auf, Doctor Structure, and others with whom he has performed all over Europe, and in the U.S. and Canada. Since his debut as a recording artist in 2001, he has released thirteen albums as a bandleader, received an Art Council award for the Jacob Anderskov's Agnostic Revelations's even worse, received the Government Art Foundation Grant in 2004, and received five Danish Jazz Music awards. He is currently one of three spearhead acts of the Danish International Jazz Launch, a cooperative music export project between several of the major music institutions in Denmark.

Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio (Iceland)
Jazz Club

Proclaimed an "impressive newcomer" by the Village Voice, Icelandic pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs bridges the Brooklyn-Reykjavik jazz divide by combining the elegance of the European approach with a fiery New York drive. Equally influenced by such American pianists as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and by Scandinavians like Bobo Stenson and Jon Balke, Gunnlaugs has found a way to make music to which people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate. Her own charming brand of romantic lyricism riding upon a driving American rhythm section appeals to jazzers and non-jazzers alike.

Olli Hirvonen Quartet (Finland)
Olli Hirvonen, guitar
Frederick Menzies - Tenor Sax
Jeff Koch - Bass
Philippe Lemm - Drums
Jazz Club

Olli Hirvonen is a Finnish jazz guitarist, who was nominated as the Artist of The Year of the 2011 Pori Jazz Festival. He is a graduate of Sibelius Academy and currently pursuing his Master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Hirvonen has performed in New York, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Netherlands. His new international quartet, which features musicians from Netherlands, Denmark and USA, plays music that is distinctively modernistic, drawing influences from rock, jazz and R and B as well as 21st century classical music and contemporary art and literature.

Caroline Henderson (Denmark)
Jazz Club

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Caroline Henderson moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1983. As a teenager, she sang in various jazz bands, and in 1989 she got her breakthrough when she and fellow singer Maria Bramsen formed the band RayDeeOh. In 1995, she released her first solo album, Cinemataztic. Since then, she has made seven solo recordings—among them Made in Europe which was released in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, the United States, and Canada. Her album Love or Nothin' was named Best Vocal Recording at the Danish Music Awards 2007. Apart from her musical career, Caroline Henderson has acted in several plays and movies, including the Spanish drama Tuya Siempre, which won three awards at the Malaga Film Festival in 2007. She won great critical acclaim in the Howard Barker play Dead, Dead, Very Dead, directed by Jacob Shokking; starred in Peter Langdals production of Don Juan in 2007, and hosted a series of jazz programs on Danish television. For five years, Caroline Henderson has been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, focusing special attention on violence against children. Caroline also supports Okobarn, a campaign for better health and organic products for children.

Kroumata (Sweden)
Percussion Ensemble
Johan Silvmark,Roger Bergström, Ulrik Nilsson, Pontus Langendorf
Millennium Stage

With over 30 years of unparalleled performances, Kroumata has brought percussion from the back row of the orchestra to center stage. Kroumata has a strong commitment to contemporary percussion music and has commissioned numerous works from Swedish and international composers. The group's extensive repertoire includes works by composers as diverse as Sofia Gubaidulina, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Hanna Hartman, André Chini, Steve Reich, Toru Takemitsu and Sven David Sandström. Over 220 works have received their world premieres by Kroumata, and the group has toured extensively to dozens of countries around the world.

Midaircondo (Sweden)
Lisa Nordström, voice, bass flute, zither, calimba, electronics
Lisen Rylander Löve, voice, tenor sax, bass clarinet, calimba, electronics
Michala Østergaard–Nielsen, drums, percussion (Denmark)
Jazz Club

Midaircondo, featuring Lisa Nordström, Lisen Rylander Löve, was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2002 and took the Swedish electronica music scene by storm. Joined here by percussionist Michala Østergaard–Nielsen, the group explores avant-garde sound art, electronica, jazz and melancholic pop, and is known for its visual and improvised concerts with an imaginative mix of acoustic instruments, voice, electronics, and video.

The Hemsing Sisters (Norway)
Jazz Club

Norwegian violinists Ragnhild & Eldbjørg Hemsing have been playing together since the ages of seven and five, when they first played for the Norwegian Royal Family at the National Theatre in Oslo. Each, an acclaimed soloist in her own right, the sisters have performed with leading orchestras in Norway and around Europe. They played as a duo with the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, Ashland Symphony, Trondheim Symphony, and with the Oslo Symphony. They have performed at numerous music festivals around the world: from the Nordic region to the United States, Germany, Spain, and India – where they played as part of a Norwegian state visit. They recently recorded an hourlong documentary together with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation on the life of the famous Norwegian violinist Ole Bull. In 2001, the Hemsing Sisters were invited to the radio show "From the Top," broadcast by over 250 radio stations in the U.S. Both sisters have active solo careers, performing with a wide array of music groups. In 2003, Ragnhild won First Prize and the Laureate Prize in the Kocian Internation Violin Competition. Eldbjørg won the competition two years later in 2005.

Duo Harpverk (Iceland)
Katie Buckley, harp
Frank Aarnink, percussion
Millennium Stage

Duo Harpverk was formed by harpist Katie Buckley and percussionist Frank Aarnink with the aim to commission and perform music for harp and percussion, focusing especially on the work of young composers. To date, they have commissioned over 40 pieces from composers in Iceland, Denmark, England, Australia, and the United States. The group performs regularly at festivals in Iceland and abroad. In 2009, Katie and Frank gave harp and percussion master classes on the ListaháskÓli íslands, which resulted in five new compositions that were performed at the Dark Music Days Festival in 2010. The Duo has also created a minimalistic improvisation for Swedish artist Ellen Malmgard, which was played alongside her exhibit Glasdialogen in 2010. They are featured on Daníel Bjarnason's acclaimed album Processions performing his piece Skelj. Duo Harpverk is currently working on a CD of the music they have commissioned to date, which is scheduled to be released in 2012.

Eivør (Faroe Islands)
Millennium Stage
Eivør is a Faroese singer/songwriter with a distinct voice who grew up in Gøta, a little village in the remote Faroe Islands. While her roots are in the Faroese ballads, she has a wide range of interests in many kinds of music from rock, jazz, folk, pop, to European classical music. All her life, she has felt the urge to create and perform. At the age of 15, the young, hopeful girl left school in order to dedicate all of her time to what she loved doing – writing music. Eleven years, five solo albums and numerous awards later, she is now a mature and experienced artist and has become one of the brightest stars on the North Atlantic horizon. What makes her so special is not just her inspiring and breathtaking voice, but the fact that she is an all-round artist – a painter, storyteller, poet and composer. All this creative energy combines into a spellbinding and remarkable expression on stage, which has the ability to touch the innermost and unexplored emotions of her audiences.

Ibrahim Electric (Denmark)
Niclas Knudson, guitar
Jeppe Tuxen, Organ (Hammond B-3)
Stefan Pasborg, drums
Millennium Stage

Ibrahim Electric is an eclectic jazz-based trio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Band members Niclas Knudsen, Stefan Pasborg, and Jeppe Tuxen create experimental music that draws from a wide variety of genres, including jazz, pop, afro, and funk. They have released six CDs, including two live recordings with trombonist Ray Anderson, and amassed critical acclaim from music aficionados around the world.  

Terje Isungset(Norway)
Jazz Club

Terje Isungset is one of Norway's most innovative and distinctive percussionists. He collects material from Norwegian nature, creates new instruments out of it and explores that which represents his characteristic expression. He has made music out of wood, stone, metal and litter–and he has composed a musical work based on sounds from the world's largest oil platform. For his Icemusic, Isungset carves instruments out of pure Norwegian ice from the 600 year old Jostedal glacier. The quality and temperature of the ice determine the sound of the instruments.


Unni Løvlid (Norway)
Hakon Thelin, double bass
Millennium Stage

Singer/Songwriter Unni Løvlid from Hornindal in west Norway ranks among the most highly respected folk musicians in Norway. Her wide-ranging musical activities include concerts and tours in Norway and abroad, and teaching engagements at the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Ole Bull Academy, and the State Theatre Academy. Unni has received a number of awards for her contributions to folk singing, and she was voted 2006 "Traditional Musician of the Year" in Norway. In addition to her career as a solo performer, Unni is a member of the trio RUSK with Frode Haltli and Vegar Vårdal. She is continually involved in new productions and events and is known for her collaborations in contemporary music.

Skaran (Sweden)
Emilia Amper, nyckelharpa
Jonas Bleckman, cello
Anna Roussel, traverse flute
Millennium Stage
Folk trio Skaran plays Swedish traditional tunes and their own compositions bursting with attitude and joy. The explosive trio charms audiences from all over the world with their fascinating instruments, contagious groove and energetic presence.
Emilia Amper is one of the leading players of the nyckelharpa, or keyed fiddle, a traditional Swedish instrument. She won the 2010 World Championships of Nyckelharpa, and the Spellemannsprisen (the Norwegian Grammy) in 2011, and was nominated for two American Grammy awards together with The Trondheim Soloists, Gjermund Larsen and 2L. With a broad musical background, Jonas Blackman has rapidly established himself in the Scandinavian folk scene as well as in other genres like pop/rock, jazz, covers and world music. Anna Roussel is a wooden fute player and composer of Breton, Irish and Swedish folk music. Originally from Brittany, France, she fell in love with Swedish music and moved to Sweden.

Gjermund Larsen Trio (Norway)
Jazz Club
Praised for his technical and emotional musicality, Gjermund Larsen is an award winning Norwegian violinist/fiddler and composer. Formed in 2006, the Gjermund Larsen Trio sees him performing with Andreas Utnem (organ & piano) and Sondre Meisfjord (double bass).  Gjermund Larsen is a fiddler distinguished by the gentle warmness of his tunes, the natural tempt of his melodies and the broad variety of music that range from catchy dance tunes to calm meditations.

Wimme Saari (Finland)
Folk/ Sami joik vocalist
Tapani Rinne, clarinet
Juuso Hannukainen, percussion
Matti Wallenius, acoustic strings
Tuomas Norvio, sound
Millennium Stage

Sami joik singer Wimme Saari's music has been described as "shamanistic chant meets modern soundscapes." Joik is a traditional chant style of the Sami people that has certain elements in common with Native American music, most importantly a reverence for the earth and the elements. Saari combines the traditional joik elements with original improvisations. He has contributed his unique voice to albums by artists such as Hector Zazou, Hedningarna, Nits and RinneRadio and has also collaborated with Italian composer Aldo Brizzi. In 2005, Wimme toured England with Canadian Inuit singer Tanya Tagaq and Kalmuckian throat singer Okna Tsahan Zam in a production called Shaman Voices.

Tango-orkesteri Unto (Finland)
Millennium Stage

The key ingredients of the Finnish tango are longing and passion. Tango-orkesteri Unto's music is firmly rooted in both. The six virtuosos led by pianist-arranger Timo Alakotila salute the classic Finnish tango repertoire with their freshly nuanced and powerful renditions of works by Unto Mononen and Toivo Kärki, the most prominent composers of the genre. The varied musical backgrounds of Unto's musicians-from world music and jazz, to theatre music and tango nuevo-imprint their music with a wealth of influences, freedom of playing and depth of interpretation. Tango-orkesteri Unto (Tango Orchestra Unto), was founded in 1998 to promote Finnish tango at EXPO98 in Lisbon. Since then, the band has performed in several countries, to a warm reception from the audience and press alike. Successes in recent years include sold out concerts in Vienna at the Jeunesse Festival (2009) and FolkBaltica Festival in Germany (2007), performances at an event dedicated to Finnish tango at the City of London Festival (2009), and in Stockholm and Frankfurt (2011).

Performances for Young Audiences

Suzanne Osten (Sweden)

Playwright and director Suzanne Osten, who has been the Artistic Director of Unga Klara Theater in Stockholm since 1975, will offer a series of workshops and lectures with the Kennedy Center Education Department. Her pioneering work has changed the nature and status of theater for young audiences in Sweden and internationally. Osten has received numerous awards worldwide for her work in theatre and film, particularly her work in children's theatre. She is also the writer of several books and screenplays, and gives lectures and conducts workshops worldwide, apart from continuing her groundbreaking work and research. Among her many awards and honors, Suzanne Osten was named an honorary doctor by Lund University in 2002. She has also served as a Professor of Directing at the Dramatic Institute, Stockholm from 1996-2009. She served on the Swedish Research Council as a member of the Group for Artistic Research from 2001-2007.

Teatret Gruppe 38 (Denmark)
Bodil Alling, Artistic Director
Family Theater

Founded in 1972, Teatret Gruppe 38 is a children's theater for audiences of all ages that is constantly pushing the artistic and thematic boundaries in the field of theater for young audiences. In 2011, it became the first Danish theater ever to receive the ASSITEJ Honorary President's Award for Artistic Excellence. In 2004, the company moved into its current home: an old soap factory and the former home of the State Film Office in Århus, Denmark. Gruppe 38 creates performance experiences that are unlike traditional theater. Hans Christian, You Must Be an Angel, one of the most acclaimed pieces in their repertory, has been referred to as a "theater installation" in which the audience walks around and explores as the performance is going on. Teatret Gruppe 38 tours extensively both in Denmark and throughout the world to countries that include Australia, Croatia, North America, Scotland, Germany, Estonia, and Japan. The company will offer both student and public performances.

Backa Theatre (Sweden)
Mattias Andersson, Artistic Director
Little King Mattias by Janusz Korczaks
Family Theater

Founded in 1978 as an offshoot of the Göteborgs Stadsteater, Backa Theatre successfully produces both new and classic works and has been honored with national and international awards for its pioneering way of creating and performing theater. The company has participated in festivals throughout Europe and around the world, including in the Middle East, Africa and South America. Backa Theatre presents the piece Little King Mattias, an audience-participatory production where a young king, unhappy with his adult advisors, asks the audience of children to take their place.

Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra (Iceland)
Classical Music Program for Children
with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Concert Hall

The beloved children's book character Maximus first appeared in 2008 in the best-selling, award-winning book Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra written by Hallfrídur Ólafsdóttir and þórarinn Már Baldursson, both members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. In the book, Maxi discovers the wonders of music and the symphony orchestra in his own joyful and friendly manner. In the sequel, Maximus Musicus Visits the Music School, he sees that children can play musical instruments too. Adapted for the concert hall, Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra is a concert program for both chamber and symphony orchestras which has been performed to great acclaim at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia, and with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The work for young audiences and their families will be performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

More for Young Audiences In addition to the events listed above, there will also be events and activities for young audiences based on Nordic literature, film, cuisine, and much more.

Additional Events

As with several recent international festivals at the Kennedy Center, Nordic Cool 2013 will also host several visual art exhibitions, film screenings, games, and literature events, as well as panels, lectures, and forums about Nordic culture. Cuisine from this geographic region will be featured in the Center's restaurants and culinary events will be hosted on the Millennium Stage. A full roster of performances and events with ticketing information will be announced in the coming months.

Nordic Cool 2013
Presented in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers

Nordic Council of Ministers Logo

and Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Presenting Underwriter
HRH Foundation

Additional support provided by the State Plaza Hotel.

International Programming at the Kennedy Center is made possible through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.