The universe is making music all the time

Whatever You Love You Are: Nadia Sirota

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In celebration of the prestigious Icelandic label Bedroom Community’s tenth anniversary year, we are delighted to present the second in a series of features where the artists share their musical influences, memories and most cherished recordings. Following on from label co-founder Valgeir Sigurðsson, it’s New York’s renowned violist and composer, Nadia Sirota.

Words: Nadia Sirota



Bedroom Community is an Icelandic record label/collective formed in 2006 by Valgeir Sigurðsson, with Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, later adding Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason, Puzzle Muteson, Paul Corley, Nadia Sirota and James McVinnie to the intimate roster. 2015 saw two new additions to the family being: Emily Hall & Jodie Landau and wild Up.

Like-minded, yet diverse individuals from different corners of the globe all creatively orbit around an inconspicuous building and its inhabitants on the outskirts of Reykjavík Iceland – Greenhouse Studios – where the music is mostly created.

In celebration of the influential record label’s 10th Anniversary in 2016, members of the collective come together in a series of live performances known as the Whale Watching Tour. The inspirational tour is an unusual and ambitious premise. The artists, who are friends and colleagues, present what is more like a musical conversation with aspects of a show-and-tell than a formal concert.

Nadia Sirota, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason & Jodie Landau are going for several dates on both side of the Atlantic to keep going this Whale Watching Tour 2016, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Bedroom Community. They will also deliver during Iceland Airwaves a very special performance together with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa, Reykjavik.

The first piece of classical music you fell in love with?

When I was very little I was OBSESSED with the Overture from Bernstein’s Candide. Obsessed.

A recording whose arrangements floored you?

David Bowie ‘Blackstar’ sounds so bonkers-good.

A masterful composition which made a huge impact on you?

Olivier Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time

An unforgettable live performance you have been part of?

My very first BedCom performance at Airwaves, of KIT, in 2006. It was also the first time I’d played a long-ass viola piece for a bunch of drunk and sweaty festival-goers and and I became addicted to it.

A defining record that led you onto your own musical path?

Kim Kashkashian’s Brahms Viola Sonatas

Nadia will perform along with Nico Muhly on the album launch concert on September 27th, and during Bedroom Community’s Whale Watching Tour.



27.09.2016 New-York, Subculture**

01.10.16 Krakow, Sacrum Profanum **

03.10.16 Copenhagen, Bremen Teater *

04.10.16 Leipzig, UT Connewitz*

05.10.16 Amsterdam, Paradiso*

06.10.16 Bristol, Colston Hall*

07.10.16 London, Barbican **

03.11.16 Reykjavík, Iceland Airwaves **

Nadia Sirota*

Nico Muhly & Nadia Sirota**

Over the past decade, Sirota has been involved with unique interpretations of new scores and for commissioning and premiering works by some of the most talented composers. The New York Times has heralded Sirota as “a bold new-wave music interpreter and the violist of choice among downtown ensembles these days.” Sirota has been an integral part to luminaries of both the modern-classical scene (Stars Of The Lid, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson) and indie giants such as Arcade Fire, The National and Grizzly Bear, to name but a few. Similar to her close friend and colleague, Nico Muhly, Sirota graduated from the Juilliard School where she created the Juilliard Plays Juilliard programme for student composers and performers. Furthermore, Sirota is also a founding member of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble).

Keep In Touch’ is the new album from Nico Muhly & Nadia Sirota and features The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Alarm Will Sound. ‘Keep In Touch’, especially in its original version, was premised on the fear of never quite managing to make that connection. Its two soloists—violist Nadia Sirota and vocalist Anohni, of Antony and the Johnsons—were recorded separately, so that Anohni was virtually present, her part constructed from pass after pass of vocal improvisations, while Nadia’s was added later, all in one long, live take.

Every dimension of the piece accentuates what Muhly calls the “in-betweenness” of these two strange voices: Antony’s singing and the equally sweet falsetto of the viola. The solo part, with its bow-scrapes and awkward passagework, affectionately emphasises the instrument’s flaws, its unevenness’s of tone, and its idiosyncratic character as the neglected middle child of the fiddle family. (Even the percussion on the electronic track is constructed from the little noises a violist usually makes only by accident.) And Antony’s voice, so stately on his own records, is here reduced to abrupt, extemporaneous gestures” mirroring, not alleviating, the viola’s isolation.

– Program Notes, Daniel Johnson (2007)

‘Keep In Touch’ is released via Bedroom Community on 30th September.


Written by admin

September 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

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