“Through their earnest, skillful and passionate work – including dozens of CD-releases, touring and participation in many of our foremost festivals – Caput has gratified innumerable listeners with their artistically eminent performances of contemporary music by Nordic composers, ever since it was founded in 1987.

This is how our work was described by Nordic composers when Caput received the 2011 Council of Nordic Composers prize for the advancement of contemporary Nordic classical, electro acoustic and art music. The prize was awarded during the 2011 Nordic Music Days in Harpa Reykjavík. Is there more to say? Our emphasis has been first; new Icelandic music, second; new Nordic music; third; new music from the rest of the world; Japan, Italy, Romania, Northern Ireland, China …

Caput ensemble was founded in 1987 by young Icelandic musicians. It started as a small chamber group but grew rapidly to a sinfonietta with up to 20 players. The size of Caput has always been flexible. Each member can stand out as a soloist and the ensemble plays duos, trios, quartets, octets etc.

The “childhood” of Caput was spent in Iceland but since 1992 the ensemble has given numerous concerts abroad. The first tour was organized by Italian composers and Gaudeamus in Holland with concerts in Amsterdam, Bonn and Milan. Now CAPUT has performed in 15 European countries, in Canada, USA, Japan and China. On the list are among others:

  • Warsaw Autumn
  • The Gulbenkian Festival in Lisbon
  • Holland Festival
  • Prague Marathon
  • The International New Music Week in Bucharest
  • New Concert Series in Toronto and
  • Santa Cecilia in Rome
  • WDR Köln
  • Takefu Festival, Japan
  • The Bejing Modern Music Festival
  • In Iceland: Dark Music Days, Reykjavík Arts Festival, Skálholt Summer Music Festival, Nordic Music Days – and much more .

Living so far away from everyone, recordings are perhaps our most important task. Our debut CD was made for the Italian label Stradivarius in 1993 with music by Aldo Clementi and Riccardo Nova who both travelled up north to attend rehearsals and recordings. Caput has now made 23 CDs for labels in Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, England and the United States. Besides we have recorded single (and up to 3) tracks for at least 12 different CDs.

The Caput CDs include 5 for the Swedish label BIS, 2 for Naxos and several for local labels like Bad Taste and Iceland Music Information Centre. Most of the music is the tough, intense and delightful modern music we usually perform in concerts but you can also hear music for children (Haukur Tómasson: Grannmetislög) and much lighter music performed by the strictly commercial version of Caput: The Caput Session Ensemble.

Caput has premiered countless works by Icelandic and “overseas” composers – everything is overseas for Icelanders. Among composers that have written for or worked with Caput are:

  • Bent Sörensen, Denmark
  • Olaf Anton Thommesen, Norway
  • Doina Rotaru, Romania
  • Jukka Koskinen, Finaland
  • Veli Matti Puumala, Finaland
  • Aldo Clementi, Italia
  • Fausto Romitelli, Italia
  • Allesandro Solbiati Italia
  • Toshio Hosokawa, Japan
  • Misato Mochizuki, Japan
  • Hiroyuki Itoh, Japan

Countless Icelandic composers have worked with CAPUT, some of them from the beginning like Atli Heimir Sveinsson, Haukur Tómasson, Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, Atli Ingólfsson, Hróðmar Ingi Sigurbjörnsson, Sveinn Lúðvík Björnsson and Áskell Másson. The reinforcement of the younger generation is of course important. For few years now we have made several projects with Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, both concerts and recordings.

CAPUT is an independent ensemble supported by the Icelandic Ministry of Culture and City of Reykjavík. Conductor and clarinetist, Guðni Franzson and flutist Kolbeinn Bjarnason have been the artistic directors and managers from the beginning.


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