Halldór Smárason graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a M.M.-degree in 2014, as a Fulbright-grantee. His main teachers include composers Dr. Reiko Füting, Atli Ingólfsson and Beat Furrer. Among others, Halldór has worked with Ensemble intercontemporain, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, French Radio Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Talea, TAK and Oslo Sinfonietta, and holds a Manhattan Prize award. Additionally, he has participated in various festivals, including Manifeste and Podium. Halldór has performed on numerous occasions as well as appeared on recordings as pianist.
Halldor Smarason (CRF2018) statement
My main project at the Civitella Ranieri residency was a commission from the state of Iceland celebrating the country’s 100 years as a free and sovereign state. The piece was premiered by Siggi String Quartet on the Icelandic National Day. The piece, BLAKTA (the Icelandic word for slow flapping), is portrayed around the idea of the Icelandic flag flapping in different weather conditions.
I believe it gave the project a certain depth to work abroad on a piece so closely related to my home country. The weather conditions and environment were so different from home which left room for even more creativity. Hence, the piece probably isn’t as clear or obvious as it would have been if I were to write it in my usual workspace.
I was unafraid to allow myself and the piece to be influenced by my stay at Civitella. Various references to this unique place can be found directly or indirectly in BLAKTA, including the thunders and lightnings, periods of peaceful rain, salamanders rushing away, the unbelievable food and late night espressi and many intriguing chats with my talented fellow colleagues.
This piece wouldn’t have been the same without Civitella and more importantly, I wouldn’t be the same.