on friday, april 14, sigur rós performed at the walt disney concert hall in los angeles, in a special event featuring the los angeles philharmonic. the concert was streamed by pitchfork via the link below as well as their homepage and facebook live. the performance featured a 50-minute set of sigur rós performing with the los angeles philharmonic, followed by a second 50-minute set of the band playing songs on their own. the orchestral set featured several guest arrangers, including dan deacon, owen pallett, nico muhly, anna meredith, and more.
“this is all new ground for us. it’s been 15 years since we last played with an orchestra, and that wasn’t even sigur rós songs. the shows at the disney hall sold out fast, and only 4,500 people can get to experience it in the room. so we thought it would be good to let anyone who couldn’t get tickets and people around the world have the opportunity to see how all it comes together. there’s just one chance for us to rehearse with the l.a. phil ahead of time, so in all honesty we have no idea how this is going to go, but we promise it will be exciting.” – sigur rós
it’s a little daunting to be honest, especially as this time we are playing actual sigur rós songs. that said, the early signs are encouraging, in that we have a slew of amazing new arrangements from an illustrious array of talents. eight composers have each chosen a song, and worked their magic on tracks from as far back as ágætis byrjun (1999) all the way through to new, unreleased material.
please meet our arrangers:
daníel bjarnason – ‘á’. in 2008 iceland’s bjarnason (composer in residence with the icelandic symphony orchestra) conducted the london sinfonietta playing sigur’s ‘ára bátur’ at the recording session at london’s abbey road. now he provides a stirring arrangement on ‘á’, an unreleased song, debuted for the first time on the band’s last us tour.
dan deacon – ‘festival’. baltimore-based composer and electronic musician works up a unique and trademark arrangement of a longstanding live staple.
david lang – ‘hrafntinna’. having won the pulitzer prize for his oratorio the little match girl passion, where could the former ‘postminimalist enfant terrible’ lang go next other than towards this number from the most recent sigur rós album, kveikur?
missy mazzoli – ‘ekki múkk’. american composer, pianist and composer-in-residence at the opera company of philadelphia, mazzoli gets to grips with this slowly evolving track from 2012’s almost-ambient album, valtari.
anna meredith – ‘fljótavík’. scottish composer, celebrated for her acclaimed electronic-leaning 2016 debut, varmints approaches one of the quieter more contemplative moments from 2008’s með suð… album.
nico muhly – ‘niður’. classical wunderkind and string arranger on jónsi’s solo debut, go, (as well as grizzly bear, antony & the johnsons), new york-based muhly takes on another brand new sigur rós composition.
owen pallett – ‘starálfur’. the canadian composer, violinist and prolific collaborator (arcade fire, beirut, last shadow puppets) tackles ágætis byrjun’s spare, string-laden tune.
páll ragnar pálsson – ‘takk / glósóli’. icelandic composer and fellow 90’s indie alumni, pálsson faces down the opening track-plus-intro from the band’s 2005 album, takk… more music from páll here: soundcloud
each evening will feature a 50-minute set of sigur rós performing with the la philharmonic, followed by a second 50-minute set of the band playing songs on their own. there will also be a supporting programme of icelandic work performed by the la phil and schola cantorum reykjavík choir. the la phil will be conducted by esa-pekka salonen.