Halla Steinunn Stefansdottir

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Personal profile


My PhD thesis titled HÉR! An Exploration of Artistic Agency, published on May 26, is about the agencies at play in artistic processes. It is explored through the work of a performer, curator, and composer active within the fields of contemporary music and sound art. Starting with the proposition that agency is emergent and forms through sociomaterial relations, this PhD project sets out to explore how such acts may unfold in relation to the concert hall, the recording studio, in the virtual domain, and as ecological sound art. The thesis highlights the need for contextual sensitivity where agency is concerned while building on such knowledge to explore 'other' ways of connecting and relating through sound and music.

Professional work

"Decades ago the Sugarcubes proved to the rest of the world that Icelandic rock was its own original creation - now Nordic Affect promises to do the same for the country's new-music community." - The Chicago Reader

 "the Ginnungagap out of which all music springs" - Fréttablaðið on He(a)r

                                                                                                               Performer, composer and curator Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir is one of Iceland’s leading figures within the early and contemporary music scene. She has been the artistic director of Nordic Affect since its inception in 2005. Believing that the exciting things happen ‘in the connection’ Halla Steinunn’s work with the ensemble has been a tour de force when it comes to collaborative relationships with composers, visual artists, and producers. The work has earned them an Iceland Music Prize as Performer’s of the Year and nomination for the Nordic Council Music Prize. As an avid promoter of solo works for the baroque violin last year also saw her nominated for an Iceland Music Award as Soloist of the Year for premieres that stretched from telematic concerts over to performances within holograms and sound installations.


In her activity as curator and composer Halla Steinunn has tapped into her extensive experience as radio producer and her output has spanned everything from electro-acoustic compositions to sound and media installations. Halla Steinunn’s playing is featured on albums on the Brilliant Classics, Bad Taste Records, Musmap, Tally, Carrier Records, Sono Luminus and Deutsche Grammophon labels. They have received various accolades, including best-of-the-year listings in The New Yorker, the Boston Globe and The Chicago Reader. In October 2018 her work He(a)r was released on Nordic Affect’s album by the same title. The album was nominated for the Iceland Music Award and Kraumur Prize and made various best-of-the-year-lists, including the Boston Globe, I Care if You Listen, Yahoo Entertainment and Second Inversion. 2022 sees the release of Stefánsdóttir’s strengur project on Carrier Records, instigated by her in collaboration with performers/composers Davíð Brynjar Franzson, Kent Olofsson, Mirjam Tally and Luong Hue Trinh.

Free keywords

  • agency gender ecology interdisciplinary


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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