Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre is home to The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, The Icelandic Opera and various events throughout the year including stand up comedy, theatre and live music of various musical genres.
The design of Harpa is a collaboration between Icelandic artist and designer Ólafur Elíasson and danish architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects. The design has won various international awards and has quickly become a Reykjavik landmark. The financial crisis in 2008 put a stop to the project leaving the building only half-built for a few months until the state decided to step in and finish the construction which made Harpa a symbol of Iceland working its way out of the crisis.
The location is by the Old Reykjavik Port between land and sea overlooking the North Atlantic and the vibrant life of the northernmost sovereign capital in the world. There is a thriving icelandic music scene and out of the various music venues in Reykjavik Harpa is by far the best. During Iceland Airwaves music festival international crowds of music lovers flock to Reykjavik and Harpa is one of the main venues used. Despite being built for concerts and conferences the building has also become a tourist attraction because of its intriguing design inspired by elements of Icelandic nature and a glass facade with built in lights doing patterns and shapes often matching whatever is going on inside.
For those visiting Reykjavik during the darker months of the year the northern coastline going from Harpa towards the Sun Voyager and further, is a great spot for Northern Lights viewing should they appear.
Harpa Concert and Conference Hall has been a gamechanger for the Reykjavik music scene. The original idea was always to make it a home for all music and this has truly come to fruition. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra desperately needed a base of operations and many of the larger conferences held in Reykjavik had long since outgrown all venues. The music scene in Reykjavik first started to get attention in the 80´s when bands like Mezzoforte and The Sugarcubes started exporting their music and making it to international charts. The city has proven to be fertile ground for musicians ever since with a long list of musicians of all genres. Björk might still be the biggest name but there are for example bands like Sigur Rós, Bang Gang, Of Monsters and Men, Mono Town, GusGus and Kaleo. As well as solo artists such as Emiliana Torrini, Ólöf Arnalds, Ásgeir Trausti, Ólafur Arnalds and María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir. The Reykjavik music scene keeps producing more talent every year and there seems to be no end to the amount of names to fill the various music festivals.