Sigurbjörnsson, Thorkell, prominent Icelandic composer, pedagogue, and administrator; b. Reykjavík, July 16, 1938. He studied at the Reykjavík Coll. of Music (1948–57), had lessons in composition with R.G. Harris at Hamline Univ. in St. Paul, Minn. (B.A., 1959) and in electronic music with Hiller and composition with Gaburo at the Univ. of I11. in Urbana (M.M., 1961), and attended sessions in Nice and Darmstadt (1962). Returning to Reykjavík, he was one of the founders of the modern group Musica Nova. He taught at the Reykjavík Coll. of Music (from 1962), becoming a full prof. in 1969, and also was active with the Icelandic State Radio (1966–69). In 1973 he was a creative assoc. at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Buffalo, and in 1975 was a research musician at the Univ. of Calif, in La Jolla. He served as secretary (1969–85) and president (1985–88) of the Icelandic Soc. of Composers. In addition to his work as a composer, pedagogue, and broadcaster, he also appeared as a pianist and conductor. In 1999 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts degree by Hamline Univ.
DRAMATIC: Composition in 3 Scenes, chamber opera (1964); Apaspil, children’s opera (1966); Rabbi, children’s opera (1968); Thorgeirsboli (The Bull-man), ballet (1971); About People, ballet (1988); The Girl in the Lighthouse, opera (1999). ORCH.: Flökt (Fluctuations; 1961); Cadenza and Dance for Violin and Orch. (1967); Ymur (1969); Ys og Thys (Much Ado), overture (1970); Laeti for Orch. and Orch. on Tape (1971); Mistur (1972); Haflög (1973); Nidur, double bass concerto (1974); Bükolla, clarinet concerto (1974); Eurydice for Flute and Orch. (1978); Sequences, violin concerto (1981); Ulisse ritorna, cello concerto (1981); Columbine, divertimento for Flute and Strings (Falun, Sweden, Dec. 5, 1982); Diaphony (1984); Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano, and Orch. (1984); Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion (1984); Trifonia (1990). CHAMBER: Víxl (Rotation) for Violin, Clarinet, Cello, and Duplicate Instruments on Tape (1962); Hässelby-Quartet, string quartet (1968); Kisum for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano (1970); lntrada for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano (1970); Happy Music for Brass Ensemble (1971); Hylling (Homage) for Flute, Cello, Piano, Percussion, Tape, and Audience (1974); 4 Better or Worse for Flute, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1975); Copenhagen Quartet for String Quartet (1977); The Pied Piper for Flute and String Trio (1978); Bergabesk for Woodwind Quintet (1979); Ra’s Dozen for 12 Flutes (1980); Tema senza variazioni for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1981); Saman for 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, and Piano (1983); Drift for Clarinet and Piano (1984); Hot Spring Birds for Flute, Guitar, and Cello (1984); Hoquetus minor (Minor Hiccups) for Harpsichord and Percussion (1987); 6 Icelandic Folksongs for Flute, Violin, and Cello (1988); Bird of Fate for Clarinet and String Quartet (1989); Music from the Court of Thorn for Alto Saxophone, Vibraphone, Harpsichord, and Electric Bass Guitar (1990); Duo for Violin and Cello (1990); 6 Icelandic Folksongs for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1991); Gövertimento for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and Piano (1991); Usamo for Organ, Percussion, and Strings (1992). VOCAL: Ballade for Tenor, Flute, Viola, and Guitar (1960); Leikar for Chorus and Orch. (1961); Solstice for Soprano, Alto, Baritone, Flute, Marimba, and Double Bass (1976); The Last Flower for Children’s Chorus and Children’s Orch. (1983); A Poem About Settlement for Tenor and Chamber Orch. (1987); The Coming for Chorus (1988); Immanuel, oratorio for Soprano, Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1999).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire