Subset Festival • New music festival
Hekla | Kali Malone
The Athens Epidaurus Festival at the Athens Conservatoire
Curated by Stavros Gasparatos
Internationally acclaimed scholar of solo theremin, Hekla Magnúsdóttir from Iceland uses her instrument as an otherworldly and highly evocative siren call. By turns spectral weeping and lamenting howl, it constitutes a second voice inviting us to a soft vocal delivery, as if her studio had been haunted by a chorus of ghostly backing singers.
Hekla’s debut album, Á, released by Phantom Limb, was written and recorded in her home studio in Berlin, at a time when she was also taking care of her new-born son. Returning to Iceland, her music career continued with the mystical EP Sprungur, a horror score themed around glaciers, that was further developed in the Xiuxiuejar album, released in 2022. One of the most active representatives of the Icelandic music scene, Hekla regularly receives accolades for her work in films and performs locally and globally, both solo and as part of major music ensembles.
American composer and sound artist Kali Malone’s minimalist compositions for organ, choir, chamber music ensembles and electroacoustic formats have thrilled audiences around the world. Rich in harmonious texture through synthetic and acoustic instrumentation in repetitive motions and extended durations, Malone’s music emits distinct dynamic and emotive hues bringing forth a stunning depth of focus.
Kali Malone recently co-founded the XKatedral record label alongside Maria W. in Stockholm. She has presented her music worldwide at concert halls, churches, museums and festivals in Europe and North America, including Musica Festival (Strasbourg), Berlin Atonal, Moogfest (Durham, North Carolina), Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris, Radio France, Rockefeller Chappel (Chicago), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco) and The Southbank Centre (London), to name a few. She has collaborated with artists such as Stephen O’Malley, Lucy Railton, Frederikke Hoffmeier, Leila Bordreuil, Drew McDowall, Caterina Barbieri, Ellen Arkbro and various others.
The Subset Festival borrows a mathematical term (“subset” ⊆) for the name of an avant-garde new music festival held as part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival at the brand-new stages of the Athens Conservatoire. This five-day event will incorporate a wide range of artistic works, in the hopes of bringing diverse versions of contemporary musical creation and presentation into contact with each other. Within these five days, the three Athens Conservatoire stages will host by turns musical ensembles, sound and visual installations as well as musical performances in a multifaceted and particularly extroverted musical platform.
Drawing on a series of works chosen by the Athens Epidaurus Festival open call, artists from around the world, established and up-and-coming alike, will present their works in Athens and converse with one another, involving every one of us in this dialogue. With that in mind, participating artists will share their modus operandi with the audience in the form of special workshops and discussions. At the same time, directors and curators of similar events from across the globe will have the opportunity to be familiarized with the diverse contemporary Greek music scene.
The Subset Festival includes two commissions to contemporary Greek ensembles, TETTTIX and Trigger Happy, both of which are creating new works/installations for the Festival at the new stage of the Athens Conversatoire. Furthermore, established contemporary music artists, Greek and international, are participating (Ergon Ensemble, Vinyl -terror & -horror, MMMΔ & ALEM) as are avant-garde electronic musicians from Europe, Greece (Saber Rider) and foreigners (Robert Henke, Kali Malone, Hekla, Sébastien Roux), some of whom are making their Greek debut. Special emphasis will be placed on the outreach of the programme through laboratories by Triger Happy, TETTTIX, Sébastien Roux AND Robert Henke in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Athen.