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July 11, 2021
Morgunblaðið, Reykjavík
Cellist Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir performs the six Cello Suites of Johann Sebastian Bach in two concerts in Harpa this weekend. Each concert will feature three suites, on Saturday and Sunday at 4pm. 

Tell me about the concerts you are playing in Harpa this weekend.

I'm playing the six solo cello suites by Bach. They're really the most famous works written for the cello. I performed all of them in a concert tour around Iceland which I have been planning for a long time. I wanted to finish the tour by playing all six suites in Harpa, three on Saturday and three on Sunday. I graduated from school last year, when Covid had just hit, and had to think about what I wanted to do. I felt like it was a good opportunity to learn all the suites. I had learned some of them before but not all and had always had the dream to play them here at home. I wasn't really able to play with other people during this time period so I could really dedicate myself to preparing this.

Is there a particular reason you are so taken with the Bach Suites?

When I was a teenager and first really discovering classical music Bach was my favorite composer. These are foundational pieces for any cellist. The suites are varied, each one has its own key and a strong character, distinct from the others. They are challenging in a very complete way, you both have to practice a lot but then they are very demanding psychologically, it's such a long and large project. So, it was really a big challenge to perform them all.

How has the concert tour gone?

It's gone very well. It was obviously a lot of work to present and perform the music and drive around from place to place. But it was very fun, and I got to know places I had never been to before. It was the first solo tour I've ever done so I learned a great deal.

What's next for you?

I graduated with my master's in spring of last year and now I'm starting post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I'll get a lot of practice performing regularly. Then I'm also a member of a string quartet in New York, where I was studying before. Then I'll try and come home and play a lot here.

Translated from Icelandic by Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir.

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