Clarinet & Marimba

Vioarneisti | Cathy Wood (clarinet) / Victoria Sparks (marimba) - Prairie Debut 2021-22

CathY Wood | Clarinet/CLARINETTE
Victoria Sparks | Marimba

Vioarneisti | Cathy Wood (clarinet) / Victoria Sparks (marimba) - Prairie Debut 2021-22

Imagine a concert program blending the adventurous spirit of Nordic explorers with the shimmering allure of the Northern Lights, and you’ll have an inkling of what you might hear in the collaboration of clarinet and marimba duo Catherine Wood and Victoria Sparks.

The two come together as Viðarneistí (pronounced vee-thar-nest-ee). The Icelandic term for “wood spark” is an apt description for what happens when the rich, sultry tone of the clarinet meets the percussive punch of marimba. The recognition of their shared Icelandic heritage serves as a springboard for Wood and Sparks, as they delve into themes from their Nordic roots.

Viðarneistí invites audiences to experience this fascinating and unusual musical combination, as these warm and personable artists innovate from a variety of styles and genres.

Imaginez un programme de concert mêlant l’esprit aventureux des explorateurs nordiques à l’allure scintillante des aurores boréales et vous aurez un aperçu de ce que vous pourriez entendre dans la collaboration du duo de clarinette et de marimba formé par Catherine Wood et Victoria Sparks.

Elles se sont réunies en tant que Viðarneistí (prononcer vi-sar-nest-i). Ce terme islandais pour “étincelle de bois” est une description appropriée de ce qu’il se produit lorsque le ton riche et sensuel de la clarinette rencontre le coup percutant du marimba. La reconnaissance de leur héritage islandais commun sert de tremplin pour Wood et Sparks, tandis qu’elles explorent les thèmes de leurs racines nordiques.

Viðarneistí invite le public à découvrir cette combinaison musicale fascinante et inhabituelle, alors que ces artistes chaleureuses et sympathiques innovent à partir d’une variété de styles et de genres.




Concert | 2:30 pm | Sunday February 12, 2023
Estevan SK | Estevan Arts Council

Concert | 7:30 pm | Monday February 13, 2023
Moose Jaw SK | Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Concert | 7:30 pm | Wednesday February 15, 2023
Biggar SK | Biggar and District Arts Council

Concert | 7:30 pm | Friday February 17, 2023
Yorkton SK | Yorkton Arts Council


Concert | 6:00 pm | Friday Feb 23, 2024
Premiere of “An Emptiness in Me”
Composer: Karen Sunabacka
Winnipeg MB | Dream Big Piano Festival | Human Rights Museum

“The way that it seems to work in the Icelandic community – as soon as you find out that someone else is Icelandic, first you check and see if you are related, and second you decide that of course you have to be the best of friends.”

Victoria Wood on the Viðarneistí partnership

PHOTO CREDITS: Ian McCauseland Photography

Accomplished performers, adjudicators and university faculty members Catherine Wood and Victoria Sparks have shared their remarkable blend of Icelandic-Canadian music both nationally and internationally. As Viðarneistí, the two have been featured at events including Clarinfest, an International Clarinet Association event hosted in Belgium, at the Núna Iceland Canada Art Convergence, and for the 100th Anniversary Gala for the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers.

The unique combination of clarinet and marimba has sparked a series of commissions specifically written for the duo, beginning with an inaugural project by composer Fjóla Evans. Since then, Viðarneistí  has premiered works by Canadian composers including Sid Robinovitch, Kenley Kristofferson and Chris Byman. Upcoming debuts will include new music by Glen Buhr and singer/songwriter Heitha Forsyth.




An avid chamber musician, Catherine Wood has performed throughout North America, Asia, and Europe, and premiered many works at festivals, including the Winnipeg New Music Festival and the Dark Music Days Festival in Reykjavik. As a proponent of the piccolo clarinets, Catherine has commissioned works and performed piccolo clarinet recitals across the globe.
A sought-after clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Wood has worked extensively with students in Canada and has served on international competition juries.
Catherine performs with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as well as with Viðarneisti. She is on faculty at Brandon University and serves as the National Chair of Canada and the Continental Chair of North America for the International Clarinet Association. Catherine is a Buffet Crampon performing artist.



Percussionist Victoria Sparks appears regularly with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is Principal Timpani/Percussion with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and works with other Manitoban arts organizations, including the Groundswell New Music Series, Brandon Chamber Players, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Winnipeg Singers. In 2018 Victoria was appointed percussion instructor at the University of Manitoba, where she also directs the percussion ensemble.

Victoria is also the founder and director of the MBA Prairie Percussion Workshop, an annual education and performance event for percussion students. She is honoured to be part of the Yamaha Artist family.