Ingólfur Guðbrandsson founded the Polyphonic Choir in 1957 and at the same time the nation got access to choral music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, music that in many cases had never been heard in Iceland. From the very beginning, the choir's concerts were well attended and reviews of the choir's singing were in most cases laudatory. The choice of material usually attracted special attention, music from the 16th and 17th centuries and not least, which was a characteristic of the choir all along, the pure and bright singing. Guðbrandsson always emphasized the vocal training of the choir members and hired singers to guide the choir members. The choir performed not only music from past centuries, but also works by 20th century composers, and new works by young Icelandic composers.
A poster from 1961 has been preserved advertising concerts on Sunday 16 and Tuesday 18 April in Kristskirkja in Reykjavík.
On the concerts some church music from the 17.-20. century, was performed i.a. the work Totentanz by Hugo Distler, premiered in Iceland. Haukur Guðlaugsson played the organ and actor Lárus Pálsson performed. Ingólfur Guðbrandsson was the conductor.
In the summer of 1961, the Polyphonic Choir went on its first trip abroad, to England, where it took part in an international choir competition. The choir was chosen in third place in the competition of choirs from 27 countries. After the competition, the choir went on a tour of the UK and the program included both church and secular music. The choir also sang at the BBC in London. An exhibition is currently underway in the Library about Ingólfur Guðbrandsson and the Polyphonic Choir.
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