22. Anitation


'Anitation' is the term for animated notation. Instead of using traditional musical scores during the performance, the musicians follow specific instructions that move across a computer screen. This rhythmic language and animated notation, and their subsequent structural methods, were the subject of Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson's Master's thesis at Mills College. As he explains, 'By intently focusing on small differences, both in rhythm and pitch, the ear gets tuned to a microscopic mode of listening. When things then open up, a new sense of variety is gained.' This technique of composing is performed by Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson and his quartet Fersteinn.


Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson is an Icelandic composer writing music based on irregular or non-pulse oriented rhythms. It inhabits a world where grids or straight lines are almost non-existent. This often requires presenting the music as moving graphics on computer screens. In that way, the most irregular things can become very intelligible.

He has been active with a composer collective in Iceland called S.L.Á.T.U.R. and took part in founding its festival Sláturtíð. He also used to be a co-curator of the Jaðarber concert series and Fengjastrútur Ensemble. He runs his own multi-instrumentalist quartet called Fersteinn.

His music has been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Caput Ensemble, Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Adapter, Tøyen Fil og Klafferi, Ensemble l’Arsenale, Ensemble CRUSH, Aksiom Ensemble, Nordic Affect, Defun Ensemble, Iceland Flute Choir, Duo Harpverk, Roberto Durante, Markus Hohti, Mathias Ziegler, Georgia Browne, Timo Kinnunen, Shayna Dunkelmann, Una Sveinbjarnardóttir and Tinna Þosteinsdóttir.

Some of the festivals that have included Guðmundurs music are Tectonics Festival (both Reykjavík and Glasgow), MATA, Musikin Aika, Ultima, November Music, Transit, Music for People and Thingamajigs, Nordlichter Biennale, Timisoara International Music Festival and the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocation in 2014, where Guðmundur was also keynote speaker.

He studied composition at Mills College, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavík College of Music, privately and at summer courses in Kürten and Darmstädt. His teachers have been Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, John Bischoff, Atli Ingólfsson, Hilmar Þórðarsson and Úlfar Ingi Haraldsson.


Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson has been part of DE PLAYER's programme with his quartet Fersteinn several times. This Icelandic quartet plays with little analogue instruments and animation scores Gunnarsson made on his computer. It results in very delicate and unconventional chamber music.

The animations of Gunnarsson were also used by Goodiepal when he visited DE PLAYER on 17 Dec 2015 with his project on Icelandic animated notation. He gave a lecture on this subject and played several pieces with Daniel S. Bøtcher, Grøn, Nynne Roberta Pedersen, amongst which some were by Gunnarsson. We also produced a limited polyurethane record with Fersteinn.

The idea of 'anitation' and the work of Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson fits perfectly within 'Pushing Scores'.

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