|Photo Credit: Steingrimur Steinolfson||Author: Steingrimur Steinolfson, Bloomington, MN|
It is very difficult to describe brilliance.
In Minneapolis on March 3, 2013, Icelandic-American pianist Dr. Kristín Jónína Taylor mesmerized everyone with her unbelievable talents. The Midwest is very fortunate to have such a world-class performer of Nordic piano works. She is an expert on Icelandic music and winner of many awards, including two Fulbright grants.
In June of 2006, Kristín received the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where she studied with Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff. In addition, she has studied with John and Antoinette Perry in the United States, and in Europe with Diane Andersen, Daniel Blumenthal, Jacques Lagarde, Perfecto Garcia Chornet, Vit Gregor, and Einar-Steen Nokleberg.
Dr. Taylor has performed widely in the U.S. as well as in France, Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Iceland. Her playing has been described as “genuine and straightforward while at the same time moving, sincere and affectionate” (Jónas Sen, classical music critic for the leading Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið)
The piano recital on March 3, 2013 was sponsored by the Edvard Grieg Society in Minneapolis. Dr. Taylor states “Edvard Grieg is arguably the best known of any Scandinavian composer.” The Edvard Grieg sonata Dr. Taylor performed was quite wonderful with four movements. With the prolongation of the movements we were taken on a fast-slow-fast trip with superb resonance and intensification culminating with the last note.
After performing classics by Edvard Grieg, Niels Gade and Geirr Tveitt, Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, Dr. Taylor ended her recital with a scintillating piece entitled “MA KKNOTT” by Icelandic composer Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson. Performing this piece was bittersweet and emotional for Dr. Taylor since Þorkell had just passed away.
The second Fulbright Scholar grant from the US Government was in 2010 to research the music of Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson; Dr. Taylor spent a lot of time in Iceland with Þorkell and established a fond bond and appreciation of him that showed in her interpretation of his work. Dr. Taylor’s debut CD recording was titled “The Well Tempered Pianist: The solo piano works of Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson.”
The composing of the classic masterpieces performed by Dr. Taylor is ingenious but her interpretation makes her a co-master of the pieces.
The Icelandic community sponsored a reception following the recital. Everyone enjoyed the Icelandic del-icacies. At the reception I asked Dr. Taylor how is it possible to memorize and master the character, mood and tempo of each piece. She said something like, “If I make a mistake most people would not know it.” This novice can safely vouch for her performance; she didn’t make any mistakes.
Dr. Taylor is associate professor of piano at Waldorf College in Iowa.
The title of MA KKNOTT as explained by Dr Taylor indicated that each of the letters in KKNOTT represent a different Nordic sister city of Kópavogur. The different towns in the name are: Klakksvík (Faroe Islands), Kulusuuk (Greenland), Norköping (Sweden), Odense (Denmark), Tampere (Finland) and Trondheim (Norway).