The Oklahoma City Philharmonic begins the new year with our fourth Inasmuch Classics Series concert, “Nordic Soundscapes,” Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 p.m. at Civic Center Music Hall.

“When you think of ‘Nordic,’ what comes to mind?” asks Maestro Alexander Mickelthwate. “To me, it’s northern lights, Finnish lakes, Icelandic fire and ice, Norwegian fjords, Swedish lifestyle. Simply put, pristine and clear beauty.”

Mickelthwate and the OKCPHIL will take the audience on a musical journey with music from some of that region’s biggest stars. The first half centers around two Icelandic pop stars—singer Bjork, and Kjartan Sveinsson, pianist for the band Sigur Ros.

“Bjork is famous not only for her ‘swan dress’ at the Oscars, but for her unique songs, colorful instrumentations, renaissance voice and quirky lyrics,” Mickelthwate said. “Our singer bringing Bjork’s songs to life will be Grammy Award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann, with whom I had worked during my time at the LA Philharmonic.”

Mickelthwate traveled to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik a few years ago. While there, he had coffee with Sveinsson, and toured his studio.

“Sveinsson’s band, Sigur Ros, is famous for its emotional and melancholic sound worlds,” Mickelthwate said. “Their studio is surrounded by nature, a huge mountain range, and water. His music seems to go back to the Renaissance time. There is nothing contemporary, it is pure beauty, as if he captured the essence of his surroundings through music.”

The second half of the concert features Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.

“Composers are inspired by all sorts of things,” Mickelthwate said. “While working in his composition hut in the Finnish countryside, a group of swans flew right about Sibelius’ head. He was struck by sudden inspiration and composed the famous brass theme of the last movement in his Symphony No. 5. We are looking forward to playing that for our audience in Oklahoma City.”

Tickets for “Nordic Soundscapes” are on sale now at the OKCPHIL Box Office at or by phone at 405-TICKETS.