ASKELL MASSON (b 1953 )
Born in Reykjavik in 1953, Áskell Másson could be considered the very epitome of the Icelandic composer: widely travelled, eclectic in his interests and influences, and, in the sheer breadth of his writing, ʻuseful, and to the living’, as Britten once described his own music.
Known at the start of his career primarily as a performer and composer for clarinet and percussion, Másson came to international attention at the age of 26 with his Clarinet Concerto, written for Einar Jóhannesson, then principal clarinet of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The work was featured at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris in 1980. Since then, Másson has written music for the theatre, for films, radio and television, as well as for the concert hall and opera house. Másson’s works to date include the opera The Ice Palace (1983-87), the oratorio Cecilia (2006–8), three symphonies, sixteen concertos, and numerous works for chamber ensemble and orchestra which have been performed throughout Europe, North America and Asia.