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Photo © Andri Haflidason
Hallgrímsson began his musical life as a cellist, spending twenty years playing with orchestras in Iceland, England and Scotland. A lifelong interest in writing music, and studies with Peter Maxwell Davies and Alan Bush, led him to give up his performing career in 1983 to compose full time. Unsurprisingly, works for strings are central to his catalogue, most of his large ensemble works being for strings only. Often inspired by visual art (Hallgrímsson is himself an accomplished painter), his unique language is both eerie and paradoxical; with repeated listening, the seemingly simple can unveil mysterious depths, and the impenetrable can reveal itself with unexpected clarity.