June 2, 2021
by Kolbrún Bergþórsdóttir
Published in Fréttablaðið, Reykjavík
THE CELLIST'S BIBLE
Cellist Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir performs all six Bach Cello Suites in a concert tour of Iceland this summer.
The first concerts given by Geirþrúður Anna will take place on June 8 at 8pm at the Kalman Arts Society at Vinaminni in Akranes. Next, she performs at Hamrar in Ísafjörður Music School on July 10 at 8pm, on June 13 at 4pm for "Classics in Berg" at the Berg Cultural House in Dalvík, on June 14 at 8pm at Hof in Akureyri, and in the Old Trading Center in Breiðdalsvík on June 17 at 5pm. The final concerts will take place in Norðurljós in Harpa on June 10 and 11 at 4pm.
The main project
When speaking about Bach's Solo Cello Suites Geirþrúður says: "I learned the first suite when I was ten or eleven years old and then added the others over the course of my studies. I graduated with a master's degree from Juilliard last spring and then I was in need of something to do. I decided that now was opportunity to learn the complete suites. It's been my main project for the past months and I never get tired of playing them, it's so rewarding."
Found her instrument
In total, the suites are around two hours in performance. "They sort of like the cellists Bible. Each suite is in a different key and has its own affect and character. The first suite of open and simple, but they gradually get larger and more complicated as they go on. The second suite is introverted, the third extroverted, the fourth philosophical, the fifth dramatic, and then the sixth one is grand and euphoric. So, the music really is a journey, both for the performer and for the audience," says Geirþrúður.
She started studying the cello when she was only five years old. "My parents chose the violin for me and my siblings but then I saw a cello and said: That's the one for me! From the time I was six I was so lucky as to get to study with my uncle, Gunnar Kvaran. He was very encouraging, but he kept me to the grindstone and also instilled in me a love of the instrument."
So, the music really is a journey, both for the performer and for the audience
Demanding studies at Juilliard
Geirþrúður is a recent graduated of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. "I first went to Chicago where I had a fantastic teacher and then moved on to a master's degree at Juilliard. They were demanding years and I learned a great deal."
Next year, Geirþrúður will continue her studies in London, but she is also a member of a newly founded string quartet in New York. Regarding the time ahead she says: "These days you have to create your own projects and show initiative and creativity. I'm hopeful that I will get good opportunities," says Geirþrúður Anna Guðmundsdóttir.