Holland Festival Proms:
We Came In Peace For All Mankind

Daníel Bjarnason

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Twelve concert grand pianos will be placed in a circle in The Concertgebouw’s Main Hall. Instead of being played with their keys, they will be resonance boxes for twelve horn players. The Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason conceived this unusual musical setup, which will have its world premiere at the Holland Festival Proms. Bjarnason’s work has sometimes been described as ‘alchemy’. He blurs the boundaries between acoustic and electronic music with his accessible experimentation. This is his newest work: a modern ritual. Playing the horns beneath the lids of the grand pianos makes the piano strings vibrate, creating sounds that deepen and amplify the horns’ sounds in various ways. Music that you have to experience to believe.


Daníel Bjarnason
French horn
Morris Kliphuis, Christine Chapman, Pieter Hunfeld, Laurens Otto, Romain Bly, Wendy Leliveld, Fons Verspaandonk, Diechje Minne, Felix Peijnenborgh, Deepa Goonetilleke, Simão Fonseca, Margreet Mulder


Icelandic conductor, curator and composer Daníel Bjarnason is currently Composer-in-residence at the Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven and former Artist-in-Residence with the Iceland 

Symphony Orchestra. Making his conducting debut with Tokyo and Toronto symphony orchestras, and Turku Philharmonic, other highlights this season are the revival at Harpa of the Kasper Holten production of his first opera Brothers, premiered in Aarhus - European Capital of Culture, and the London premiere of First & Last Men, with the London Symphony Orchestra, a multimedia work from the late Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, which Bjarnason premiered the previous year.

Bjarnason’s recent commissions include the piano trio White Flags, commissioned by Storioni Festival Muziekgebouw Eindhoven; a work for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir; and We Came in Peace (for All Mankind), a new work for 12 horns commissioned by The Holland Festival. His latest orchestral work, the Violin Concerto, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, saw its world premiere at the Hollywood Bowl with Gustavo Dudamel. A co-curator of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Reykjavik Festival, and featuring as conductor and composer, he presented an eclectic 17-day festival with numerous commissions, performances from artists of different genres, visual and digital arts exhibitions, and educational concerts.

Bjarnason has previously appeared with the Los Angeles and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, amongst other guest invitations. With music performed by conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andre de Ridder, Osmo Vanska, in venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, Harpa and Barbican, his versatility has also led to collaborations with a broad array of musicians outside the classical field including Sigur Rós, Ben Frost and Brian Eno. The recipient of the 8th Harpa Nordic Film Composers Award for the soundtrack of the Icelandic film Under the Tree, he has also been awarded Best Performer at the Icelandic Music Awards, as well as Composer of the Year for his works The Isle Is Full of Noises and Over Light Earth. Bjarnason is a member of Bedroom Community and is published by Peters Edition.


This performance was made possible with support by