The Desautels Faculty of Music and the Department of Icelandic Language and Literature at the University of Manitoba have partnered together to present two concerts celebrating Icelandic music and culture.  

Von um vorið – Hope for Spring – came together, as things often do, through a mutual friend and a suggestion.



When Dr. Minna Rose Chung, professor of cello at the Desautels Faculty of Music, sought to bring Sibbi Bernhardsson of Oberlin College Conservatory to Winnipeg for a string workshop, she immediately connected with fellow faculty member Victoria Sparks.  

“He's originally from Iceland” explains Sparks. “So (Chung) said ‘I thought I better call you because your family is from Iceland’...  And then (the program) started to kind of snowball and grow from there.”  

Joining Chung and Bernhardsson are Katie Smirova and Brett Walfish of the Rushmore Music Festival, in addition to some students from the Desautels Faculty of Music at the U of M. Sparks will perform alongside her duo partner Catherine Wood, together known as Viðarneistí – a marimba and clarinet pairing. 



Music by Icelandic composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson will be heard. Plus, music by Icelandic/Canadian composers, Fjola Evans and Kenley Kristofferson.  

“Two very different composers,” explains Sparks in discussing their lineage back to Iceland.  

Originally from Reykjavik, Evans immigrated to Toronto with her family whereas Kristofferson was born in Winnipeg and raised in Gimli.  

“Not necessarily that typical Manitoban New Icelander story,” says Sparks of Evans’ story. A story shared by Sparks’ own heritage which runs back even further when her “grandparents’ grandparents” arrived on the Prairies.  

Two concerts – both free of charge – will take place.  

A full concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at the Betel Waterfront Centre in Gimli with a shorter, midday concert in the Desautels Faculty of Music Vocal Arts Room on Monday, March 4 beginning at 12:30 p.m.  

Hope for Spring Poster