The Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir, founded in 1982, has long been one of the leading choirs in Iceland. Its large and diverse repertoire includes a number of oratorios, passions and requiems, as well as a cappella sacred music from various periods. The choir also has premiered many Icelandic compositions.
The choir has toured widely and performed in some of Europe’s most prominent cathedrals and at various festivals. The choir sang at the Nordic Church Music Symposiums in Oslo 1986, Gothenburg 1996 and Reykjavík 2012. In 1996 it won a prize at the International Choral Competition in Cork, Ireland, and in 2014 it won three gold medals and the Grand Prix of the International Choir Competition and Festival Cançó Mediterrània.
Among major works recently performed by the Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir are J.S. Bach’s passions, the Christmas Oratorio and Mass in B minor, the requiems by Mozart, Duruflé and Fauré, the oratorios Elijah and Paulus by Mendelssohn, Vesper by Rachmaninoff, Mass for Double Choir by Frank Martin, A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms and Messe Solennelle by Louis Vierne. The choir also regularly performs with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and was recently nominated as Performer of the Year in the category of Classical and Contemporary Music at the 2012 Icelandic Music Awards. 2012 was also the 30th anniversary year for the Motet Choir, the festive celebrations including performances of Mozart´s c Minor Mass and Requiem, Beethoven´s 9th Symphony and J.S. Bach´s Christmas Oratory accompanied by The Hague International Baroque Orchestra.
Having released a number of CDs, the choir has earned international acclaim for its recordings of Duruflé´s Requiem and Icelandic composer Haflidi Hallgrimsson´s Passion. The Motet Choir´s Christmas CDs are very popular in Iceland and the choir´s Christmas Concerts are an important part of advent music life in Reykjavík.
Recent premieres of Icelandic music include St. Cecilia, an oratorio by Askell Masson and writer Thor Vilhjalmsson, which was nominated for Composition of the Year at the 2010 Icelandic Music Awards, and Haukur Tomasson´s Flétta, premiered during the 2011 Reykjavik Arts Festival, released on CD and DVD in 2013.