“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.
MARIMBA & PERCUSSION
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.