Silfur is an exploration of the music of my past and how it reflects back to me now in the present. Evoking images of different moments, places and periods of my life, and rediscovering the pieces that have stayed with me. Sometimes we can only understand ourselves by looking back, and hopefully, finding the thread of who we are and who we have always been.”
Dustin O’Halloran
April 28, 2021—Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning U.S. composer and pianist Dustin O’Halloran unveils his new single, “Opus 56,” on April 30, when it will be available HERE. The track is the second single from his forthcoming Deutsche Grammophon debut, Silfur, which arrives on June 11 and can be pre-saved HERE. In addition, a live performance video of the album’s first single, a reimagined version of O’Halloran’s “Opus 18” shot at Reykjavík’s Fríkirkjan church by director Blair Alexander, is available to stream and share HERE.
“Opus 56” is one of two brand new works on Silfur, which frame thirteen new recordings of reimagined compositions from previous albums (see below for track list). Recorded by O’Halloran in Iceland in 2020, the track acts as a thoughtful work of introspection and a bridge linking his repertoire from past to present. “Sometimes we have to turn off, we have to try to get away from the constant distractions and noise to listen to ourselves, to tune into the music we have inside us,” he says. “Working on this record was like rolling back time and getting back to a pure, uncompromised language and an understanding about where I came from.”
Conceived as a collection that both refines and expands upon the composer’s concepts of time, past and present perceived through music, Silfur includes ten solo piano performances alongside collaborations with fellow American composer and multi-instrumentalist Bryan Senti, Icelandic cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir and the Siggi String Quartet. O’Halloran recorded the album with Berlin-based sound engineer Francesco Donadello and Icelandic musician Bergur Þórisson.
O’Halloran worked on Silfur during the lockdown in Iceland, where he ordinarily spends part of the year. Unable to return to his other home in Los Angeles, he drew inspiration from isolation and Iceland’s unique atmosphere, revisiting works from four solo albums and refining them through the prism of his Icelandic experience. At the first recording session for this album he was given a gift of silfurberg (“silver rock”), a native Icelandic crystal, which inspired its title. “As light enters it,” explains O’Halloran, “it’s reflected into two perspectives. It felt like that’s what I was doing in making this record. And I feel the place you’re in always has a resonance—it somehow comes through the music.”
“I’ve lived with these pieces for many years and performed or returned to them from time to time,” he continues. “When Christian Badzura from Deutsche Grammophon asked if I would like to record them again, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go back into my past. But I thought this was a chance to give them more of what I intended. This was an opportunity to try to finalize them in a way that I could put them to rest, because there were things I wanted to see if I could capture. There was a feeling of travelling back in time to my past while experiencing the music in new ways in the present. It’s very special that we can capture time in this way. And I think that’s almost what music is: it’s capturing time. It’s capturing a moment, which we can experience again later.”
Raised between Hawaii and Los Angeles, O’Halloran began to teach himself piano at seven years old. During his years at art college in Santa Monica, he formed a duo with the singer Sara Lov. Their partnership evolved into the indie rock band Dēvics and led O’Halloran to move to Italy where his musical trajectory as a pianist was crystalized. His early solo albums, two volumes of Piano Solos (2004, 2006), were followed by Vorleben in 2010 and Lumiere in 2011.
Over the past decade O’Halloran’s acclaimed ambient music collaboration with Adam Wiltzie, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, has delivered four albums, two soundtracks and Atomos, the latter for Wayne McGregor’s dance company. Their most recent album, Invisible Cities, reached No. 4 on the U.K. Record Store Chart.
O’Halloran has reached new audiences and gained worldwide acclaim for his music for film and television, including scores for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006); Drake Doremus’s Like Crazy (2011), winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; his Emmy Award-winning theme music for the U.S. show Transparent (2014-17); and the soundtrack for George Tillman Jr.’s The Hate U Give (2018). His first soundtrack collaboration with German pianist and composer Volker Bertelmann for the film Lion (2016) was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award. The two recently joined forces again to compose the original music for Francis Lee’s romantic drama Ammonite (2020), starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

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