Midsummer, also known as the summer solstice, is the longest day of the year, but Scandinavians know it as “the day that never ends.” It is also a day of non-stop celebration extolling the Sun’s path around the earth.
Join us for our annual Nordic Midsummer Celebration, featuring music from Copenhagen-based musician CALLmeKAT, Swedish guitarist Samuel Hällkvist, and Icelandic cellist and former ASF Fellow Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir
Copenhagen-based musician CALLmeKat (Katrine Ottosen) is known for her distinctly Scandinavian sound: melancholic, dreamy pop. Written, performed, recorded and produced by Ottosen herself, the warmly-received I’m In A Polaroid – Where Are You EP (2008) combined sounds from sampler keyboards, home-brewed percussion, vinyl samples, birds, Dictaphone and vocal recordings, mixed and mastered by Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Múm, Sigur Rós). In November 2008 Ottosen released her full-length debut Fall Down on her own label Pixiebooth, in collaboration with Playground Music.
In 2009 CALLmeKAT played numerous critically-acclaimed shows, received an Underground Music Award for “Best Alternative Act,” and was granted one of the Danish Art Council’s prestigious grants for young, talented artists with international ambition and potential.
Based in New York since early 2010, she is collaborating with Joe Magistro (Prophet Omega) on her international debut When Owls Are Out, which will consist of reworked and remixed material from Fall Down. She also made an appearance at the 2010 SxSW Festival, where she was featured live on NPR’s All Things Considered. As of late she has appeared on both Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton’s (NPR) “Who We Liked-list” from this year’s SxSW with the words “Outstanding voice, delicate music” and “Just mesmerizing.”
Samuel Hällkvist is a Swedish guitar player living in Copenhagen, Denmark. With hints of jazz, country, metal, and noise Hällkvist’s music is an expression of a boundless world. A world where extremely different genres, geographic variety and, above all, the unexpected meet without restrictions and are conveyed with sincerity, passion and brilliant technique.
Born in the province of Dalarna, in the village of Gustafs, Hällkvist grew up with hard rock and metal influences; however a chance encounter with a jazz record changed his life.
He started playing the guitar and was admitted to the jazz program at Skurup’s folk high-school, and eventually completed his studies at the Malmö Academy of Music.
In 2010 Hällkvist was appointed Jazz in Sweden-artist 2010, a prestigious award that Caprice Records and Concerts Sweden have given annually since 1972, comprising an album release, a launch, and a tour in Sweden and abroad during 2010. Today, Hällkvist lives in Copenhagen and plays with bands such as Television Pickup, Rhododendron String Band and 15,5, while focusing on the new group Samuel Hällkvist Center and the launch of their first album.
Praised as “charismatic” in The New York Times, Icelandic cellist and former ASF Fellow Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir has appeared as a recitalist and chamber musician across the U.S., Germany, France, Poland, Italy and her native Iceland. Þorsteinsdóttir has garnered numerous top prizes, including most recently the Zara Nelsova Prize in the 2008 Naumburg International Violoncello Competition in New York.
An avid chamber musician, Þorsteinsdóttir has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Kim Kashkashian, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players and the Cavani String Quartet in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Her collaborative performances have been also been featured on WQXR New York as well as Icelandic National Radio. Also an advocate of new music Þorsteinsdóttir has premiered dozen of works and frequently performs at venues in New York such as The Stone and Le Poisson Rouge. Along with the masterpieces of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Þorsteinsdóttir is constantly inspired by contemporary works.
Þorsteinsdóttir received a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music with the highest honors of accomplishments in both cello and chamber music. She continued studies at The Juilliard School, completing a Master of Music degree in 2008. A native of Reykjavík, Iceland, Þorsteinsdóttir now lives in New York City. She plays on a cello made in Milan, Italy circa 1790.