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Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Ubique (2023), an evening-length piece for flute, two cellos, piano, and electronics*

May 25, 2023 premiere at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall featuring per
formers Katinka Kleijn and Seth Parker Woods (cellos), Cory Smythe (piano), and Levy Lorenzo (electronics)

*Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, The Pnea Foundation with generous support from the Cheswatyr Foundation, and Kurt Chauviere.


Ubique for flute, two cellos, piano, and electronics (2022-2023)

density 2036: part x 

Ubique lives on the border between enigmatic lyricism and atmospheric distortion. Through a combination of sounds, pitches, and textural nuances, low deep drones envelop lyrical materials and harmonies that breathe in and out of focus throughout the progress of the piece. The flow of the music is primarily guided by continuous expansion and contraction — of various kinds and durations — as it streams with subtle interruptions and frictions but ever moving forward in the overall structure.


The work is inspired by the notion of being everywhere at the same time, an enveloping omnipresence, while simultaneously focusing on details within the density of each particle, echoed in various forms of fragmentation and interruption and in the sustain of certain elements of a sound beyond their natural resonance - throughout the piece, sounds are both reduced to their smallest particles and their atmospheric presence expanded towards the infinite.


As with my music generally, the inspiration is not something I am trying to describe through the music as such – it is a way to intuitively approach and work with the core energy, structure, atmosphere and material of the piece.


Ubique is 50 minutes in duration and is written in 11 parts, for flutes, grand piano, 2 cellos and pre-constructed electronics. The piece was commissioned by the Pnea Foundation, with lead funds from the Cheswatyr Foundation, and Carnegie Hall for Claire Chase’s Density project.


With love, for Claire, Cory, Katinka, Seth and Levy.

© 2023 Anna Thorvaldsdottir


Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s (b. 1977) “seemingly boundless textural imagination” (NY Times) and striking sound world has made her “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music” (NPR). Her music is composed as much by sounds and nuances as by harmonies and lyrical material—it is written as an ecosystem of sounds, where materials continuously grow in and out of each other, often inspired by nature’s structural qualities, like proportion and flow.


Anna’s “detailed and powerful” (Guardian) orchestral writing has garnered her awards from the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, Nordic Council, and Ivors Academy, as well as commissions by many of the world’s top orchestras. CATAMORPHOSIS was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic and Kirill Petrenko in January 2021, following the orchestra’s European premiere of METACOSMOS with Alan Gilbert in 2019. It had its US premiere with the New York Philharmonic and Santtu-Matias Rouvali in January 2023.


ARCHORA—the latest addition to Anna’s “ever-growing and ever more essential catalogue of orchestral pieces” (BBC Radio 3)—was premiered at the BBC Proms in August 2022, by the BBC Philharmonic and Eva Ollikainen, and receives its US premiere with the LA Philharmonic in May 2023. And “while [she] has made the symphony orchestra her own,” according to Gramophone Magazine, “her chamber music is cut from the same cloth and somehow sounds with much the same combination of immensity and intimacy.” Anna’s newest portrait album, the world premiere recordings of ARCHORA and AIŌN, is out on Sono Luminus on May 26. The world premiere recording of CATAMORPHOSIS will also be released by Sono Luminus this spring.


Anna is currently based in London. In 2023, she will be in residence at the Aldeburgh Festival and Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California in San Diego. 

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