What appear to be lush grassy fields at a distance turn out to be craggy, broken expanses of volcanic rock, that are truly tough going without proper hiking boots.
—William Pura, artist
Most people have to pour all their energies into being successful in one field. But Winnipeg composer William Pura is known for his accomplishments in both visual arts and music.
He's the featured speaker at the Meet the Composer series on Tuesday May 21 at McNally Robinson Grant Park.
Pura will be talking about the music and culture of Iceland in anticipation of a concert he is curating for the 2013-2014 Groundswell season.
SCENE wanted to know more about Pura's fascination with Iceland:
I first became interested in new music in Iceland after discovering the works of Iceland's most famous composer, Jón Leifs. As it turned out the Swedish recording label BIS had been engaged in recording all of his works and a major movie on his life, Tears of Stone, came out in 1995.
I had a chance to visit Iceland in 2006 where I was able to look at scores in the National Library and the Icelandic Music Center. As well I took some time to do a little touring around the southern part of the island and visit some of the major elements in the landscape such as Hekla, Thingvellir, and Snaefellsnes.
In some ways the landscape is not unlike aspects of Ireland or Scotland with misty clouds drifting in from the North Atlantic, but the addition of the volcanic activity brings a whole other dimension to a world that still shows the scars of the relentless activity from below.
What appear to be lush grassy fields at a distance turn out to be craggy, broken expanses of volcanic rock, that are truly tough going without proper hiking boots. Waterfalls often accent the distant hills and mountains with large sections of snow apparent even in the middle of July. And of course the huge Vatna glacier, one of the largest in Europe is easily accessible from Reykjavik.