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Hildur Gudnadottir

Hildur Gudnadottir

Thursday 18th August, 2011 9:22AM

Acclaimed Icelandic cellist and composer Hildur Gudnadottir is in NZ for four shows this August. Touring as part of the Audio Foundation's annual Alt Music series, she has worked with the likes of Wild Birds and Peace Drums, Throbbing Gristle and Animal Collective. We caught up with her for a brief Q + A ahead of the tour...

How would you describe the sound of your music? Do you have specific ideas or themes you wish convey to a wider audience?

My sound sources for the NZ performances are cello and voice. I have a background in both classical and experimental music, so I my solo music is somewhere in between those pillars. There are always specific ideas or themes around everything I do but the music and the sounds are most important, so even if I´m working with specific theme or idea, I will not necessarily talk about it too much as I want the sound to be able to speak for itself without explaining it too much.

Congatulations on receiving The Icelandic Theatre award for the music of King Lear. How did you come to be involved in this production? Have you worked with theatre before? Did it pose specific challenges to you that you hadn't previously encountered?

Thank you. I have worked quite a bit in theatre yes. Benedict Andrews the director is an Australian friend who is partly based in Iceland. He invited me to work with him and I happily accepted as I was very interested in the way he works. I think every project is a challenge of it´s own. This project was a very pleasant challenge. But there were things - like constant rain on stage for 30 mins - which I hadn´t encountered before.

You're performing solo on your tour of NZ and have released solo works via Touch records – is solo performance your preferred mode? Have you or are you planning on collaborating with other artists?

My work is very split between working on my own and with other people. You learn so much from collaborations, but at the same time I think it´s very important have time to contemplate on your own personal ways of playing or composing and this I find is better to do in solitude. So for me it´s important to be able to do both. I have lots of collaborations in the pipeline. I am continuing my regular musical collaborations with múm, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Angel. I am also collaborating with a couple of instrument makers and trying out new instruments they are developing.

What's your tour schedule like right now? Is the NZ tour a leg of a wider tour?

I am slowing down my tour schedule, so I havn´t been playing live much this summer. I´m not doing any shows around these NZ shows, but I will be playing quite a few shows in Europe and USA this fall and winter.

Who are some artists that provide inspiration for your own work?

My main artistic inspiration comes from the people I collaborate with. The wonderful thing about musical collaboration is that you can communicate largely without words, and this I enjoy very much. You form a very special friendship that is very inspirational. Otherwise I am inspired by people who are fearless and brave in the ways they work, people who are not afraid of being themselves and standing firmly behind what they do. The list of people who do that and I have been inspired by is too long for me to write down.

What are your plans for the future? Upcoming recordings? Do you record frequently or infrequently?

There are lots of things coming up. There´s a vinyl release of my album Without Sinking coming out this fall, and a CD/Vinyl release of a live recording I did with Hauschka, a German friend and pianist/composer. I´ll start working on a radio theatre version of one of the old Icelandic sagas when I come back from NZ, and I´ll also start recording my next solo record that will hopefully be ready sometime this winter. I do record quite frequently, but I am quite picky about things I release, so I don´t release everything I record.


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