Renowned Cellist Shaeunn Thorsteinsdottir Speaks to T.L. Mazumdar
Behind the emotional intensity of Icelandic cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir that has been duly acknowledged by publications like LA Times and New York Times, (the latter aptly describing her as 'charismatic' and 'riveting'), Icelandic cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir's collaborations and performances include a list of venues as prestigious as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie and the Barbican Center in London and awards from the likes of Naumburg Competition (New York) and the Antonio Janigro Competition (Zagreb).
Co-nominee for Grammy award with Páll Ragnar Pálsson & the Iceland Symphony, her solo works include 'Vernacular' (interpretations of Icelandic repertoire for solo cello) and an upcoming release of her recordings of the Six Bach Suites on the Sono Luminus label. All while juggling faculty duties at the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching cello and chamber music.
In this long-form conversation, we address the balancing act entrepreneurship and authentic artistry musicians strive for in the 21st century and the interplay of digital music education and its possible dynamic with traditional music instruction, which garners increasing criticism for the normalization of fear-based mindsets.
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Produced by T.L. Mazumdar
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Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir is an Icelandic cellist who has appeared as soloist with the BBC Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Toronto, Seattle, and Iceland Symphonies. Her recitals and chamber music performances have taken her to some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie and the Barbican Center in London. The NYTimes described her as “charismatic” and “riveting”, and the LATimes praised her performances for their “emotional intensity”.
Sæunn has garnered numerous prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition in New York and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb. She is on faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle, teaching cello and chamber music.
Sæunn recently released an album of Icelandic works for solo cello, “Vernacular”, and her recording of the cello concerto “Quake” by Páll Ragnar Pálsson with the Iceland Symphony was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. Her recording of the Six Bach Suites is scheduled for release in late 2022 on the Sono Luminus label.