Skálholt Summer Concerts is Iceland’s oldest summer music festival, founded in 1975 by harpsichordist Helga Ingólfsdóttir (1942-2009) , focusing at first on baroque music but from 1978 new compositions have been premiered every year. Now the main ephasis is on contemporary religeous music and early music where both composers and performers are resident for a period of time, for the festival events in July and early August at Skálholt Cathedral, built around 1960, at the oldest bishopric in Iceland dating from 1056.
The festival has access to convenient accommodation facilities for musicians, who in most cases dwell there for a week at a time, with good rehearsal/lecture rooms attached. Rehearsals also take place in the Cathedral. Recently Skálholt Cathedral received a generous donation from the legendary Dutch violinist Jaap Schröder, who still comes to Skálholt every year, namely his collection of scores and books on Music and other Arts, therby commencing the foundation of a Music Library.
Apart from around 40 public concerts, lectures and workshops in Skálholt over the period of 6 weeks each summer, the festival takes part in CD releases for international distribution, musical scores publications and regular recident ensembles, such as the Skálholt Quartet, also travel frequently in Iceland and abroad. Also a big part of musical compositions commissioned through the years for the festival have become standard repertoire and has been performed internationally.