In 1926, the entire Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra came to Reykjavík for a 17-day, 14-concert stay. But while organized instrumental music making came late to Iceland, no country on Earth has reinvented the language of the symphony orchestra on such distinctive and locally relevant terms. The provision of musical tuition is enshrined in Icelandic law and organized via a network of 80 music schools. Student musicians in Iceland often find themselves crossing genre boundaries by necessity as there’s only one institution in the capital where you can study music to degree level. This eroding of musical silos has produced countless indefinable artists, including Hildur Guðnadóttir who became the first female composer to win an Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe in the same season, for her score to the film Joker – a cello concerto in disguise.

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