About this commission
A World Premiere Shed Commission
In a first for the innovative multidisciplinary artist, Björk and a team of digital and theatrical collaborators, including award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and director Lucrecia Martel, present a new staged concert of live musical arrangements, digital technology, and stunning visuals. A chorus and cast of musicians join Björk for this eight-concert engagement in The Shed’s iconic space, The McCourt.
When Olivier Rousteing, then 25, was selected to head Balmain’s design team in 2011, he became one of the youngest talents ever named to lead an historic Parisian fashion house. Rousteing is very conscious of his unique background and position. “I’m not the typical creative director of a major house,” he explains.
“I see first-hand how my generation lives and I understand how they want to dress. Most importantly, I’m a privileged witness to the openness, optimism, universality and honesty of this dynamic moment, with so many rapid evolutions in art, communication, popular culture, and music. Those changes constantly inspire me and are reflected in my collections—they allow me not only to design clothes, but perhaps also to shake things up a little and offer a new vision to fashion.”
Rousteing was raised in Bordeaux and studied fashion at Paris École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD). At 18, he moved to Italy, where he worked at Roberto Cavalli for five years, beginning as an intern and rising swiftly and steadily through the ranks to be named designer for the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. When the opportunity arose for him to return to Paris to work at Balmain, Rousteing seized it, forming a part of the house’s design team for two years before being named head of design in 2011.
As creative director, Rousteing has successfully grafted an immediately recognizable style upon the historic Parisian house. While relying on Balmain’s rich archives for inspiration and fully utilizing the atelier’s impressive mastery of intricate, traditional couture techniques, Rousteing has also managed to impose a singular silhouette and contemporary outlook that reflect the way that members of the “Balmain Army”—the young men and women of the designer’s own generation—live their lives. Season after season, runways highlight both the exciting, inclusive diversity of the modern Balmain universe and the importance of 21st-century culture—in particular, today’s music—in that universe. The brand’s transformation has excited many, including a host of retailers—from H&M to Nike—eager to bring the innovations and spirit of Rousteing’s Paris runways to main streets across the globe. In addition, Rousteing’s creative leadership has been a key reason for Balmain’s rapid growth in recent years, with the company opening a host of new boutiques in the world’s fashion capitals and launching new men’s, children’s, accessory, and eyewear collections.
Music produced by Björk
Original music co-produced by Arca
Isobel and Mouth’s Cradle new versions imagined by Arca
Rehearsal direction and score preparation by Matt Robertson and Bergur þórisson
Chiara Stephenson, Set Designer
Olivier Rousteing, Balmain, Costume Designer
Iris Van Herpen, Costume Designer
James Merry, Headpiece Designer
Katie Buckley, Harp
Manu Delago, Percussion
Bergur Þórisson, Electronics
Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Choreographer
Bruno Poet, Lighting Designer
John Gale, Sound
Peter Van Der Velde, Production Manager
Poul Holleman, Software Development
NAP Framework, Software Platform
Arup, Reverberation Chamber Design
Nadine Goellner, Producer
Marc Warren, Director of Production
Isaac Katzanek, Production Manager
Pope Jackson, Production Supervisor
Joe DiMartino, Technical Director
Daisy Peele, Associate Producer
Maggie MacTiernan, Director of Artist Services
Viibra, Flute Septet
The Hamrahlíð Choir
The Hamrahlíð Choir has been at the forefront of Icelandic musical life for more than four decades. Its members are former students at Hamrahlíð College in Reykjavík, where Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir formed a choir in 1967 and was its conductor until 2017. This was among the first college choirs in Iceland, and has maintained its leading position ever since. In 1982, Ingólfsdóttir formed the Hamrahlíð Choir, an ensemble made up of graduates of the college choir, and she has been its conductor ever since. More than 2,500 Icelandic teenagers have come into contact with classical music through the Hamrahlíð choral experience. Many had no prior musical training, but through diligent practice they have gone on to participate in music-making of the highest quality, from new Icelandic compositions to the choral masterworks of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.
The Hamrahlíð Choir has been a breeding ground for many of Iceland’s leading singers, instrumentalists, and composers. Among the many musicians who are former members of the choir are Björk, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, composer Haukur Tómasson (recipient of the Nordic Council Music Prize 2004), musicologist Árni Heimir Ingólfsson, and bass Kristinn Sigmundsson (a frequent guest at the Metropolitan Opera stage).
Although the Hamrahlíð Choir is primarily devoted to musical education, it has from the very beginning been dedicated to giving performances of the highest quality. The choir sings with a pure, flexible, well-blended sound, and it performs with exuberance and a youthful sense of discovery. Critics throughout the world have praised its accurate intonation, clear diction, and the high level of enthusiasm and commitment that are among the hallmarks of the choir’s music-making.
Throughout its history, the choir has collaborated closely with Icelandic composers. Over 100 works have been composed especially for the choir, including works by virtually all of Iceland’s leading composers. Apart from its close association with native composers, the choir has collaborated with artists like Arvo Pärt, John Cage, and Vagn Holmboe in the first Icelandic performances of their works. Arvo Pärt was so impressed with the choir’s performance of his Te Deum in 1998 that he composed a choral work dedicated to Ingólfsdóttir, …which was the son of…, which was premiered in 2000.
With its dedication, passion, and spirit, the Hamrahlíð Choir has touched audiences around the world. The Choir has traveled to 24 countries and has performed at many of the world’s leading choral festivals to great acclaim, introducing audiences around the world to the rich legacy of Icelandic choral music. The choir has participated in festivals in Europe, North America, and Asia, and collaborated with renowned conductors such as Tõnu Kaljuste, Osmo Vänskä, Lukas Foss, Laszlo Heltay, Robert King, Timothy Brown, Gusta Sjökvist, Willi Gohl, Hansruedi Willisegger, Johan Dujick, Petri Sakari, and Thomas Adès. The choir has been a member of the European Federation of Young Choirs since 1978, and is one of the founding members of the International Federation for Choral Music. The choir has participated in the Europa Cantat Festival since 1976.
Location and Dates
Tickets are sold out. Limited tickets may become available on the day of the show. Please call (646) 455-3494 for more information
Running time: 100 minutes
This performance has reserved seating
There is a two-ticket-per-household limit for Björk’s Cornucopia
Membership does not guarantee ticket availability, so we encourage you to book early
All tickets sales are final; times and performers are subject to change
This performances includes the use of strobe lights, lasers, and flashing video.