Yan Pascal Tortelier started his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in “great style” (Fréttablaðið) at the orchestra’s opening concert at the stunning Eldborg Harpa main hall on 8th September.

The programme included Mr. Tortelier’s newly constructed symphonic suite from Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, described by Jónas Sen of Fréttablaðið as “fantastic”. Mr. Sen continues:

“There were no dull movements, things moved at a swift pace and something interesting was always happening in the music. The orchestra played admirably with great precision under Tortelier. The strings were especially lush and enticing, and the winds were great. Again, Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir scored many points with her wonderful flute solo towards the end. All kinds of details were carefully executed and the larger context was always clear. The final dance was so powerful that it will live in my memory for a long time. It can safely be said that Tortelier started his tenure with great style.”

Praise for the concert, which also featured Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in its programme, was echoed by Ingvar Bates (Morgunblaðið) who writes:

“The orchestra played the evening´s climax, the lover´s passionate final dance with its asymmetrical 5/4 rhythm, with perfect execution, so it reminded one of the explosive performance of the Berlin Philharmonic in Harpa a few years ago.  A five-star concert, then, with hopes for “full steam ahead” into the coming months, both regarding sound and excitement; the new chief conductor certainly fired up the ISO which gave a passionate performance, with excellent dynamic range and lush sound.”

The season opening concert was the first ever live streamed concert from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Watch an excerpt of Yan Pascal Tortelier’s debut below: