The Icelandic chamber ensemble Nordic Affect was formed by a group of period instrument performers, but its performances and recordings have emphasized avant-garde music, and it has performed at leading, musically progressive venues in Europe and the U.S. Nordic Affect also has links to experimental Icelandic rock musicians.
Nordic Affect was formed in 2005 by violinist Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, violist Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir, cellist Hanna Loftsdóttir, and harpsichordist Guðrún Óskarsdóttir; Stefánsdóttir has been the group's musical director since its inception. The ensemble quickly attracted attention beyond its concert series in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and began to appear at contemporary music festivals including Belgium's TRANSIT, November Music in the Netherlands, North Atlantic Flux in Britain, Estonia Music Days, and several cutting-edge U.S. events such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Reykjavik Festival. In Iceland itself, it appeared at Dark Music Days, where it later became artists-in-residence and collaborated with composer Maja Ratkje. Nordic Affect has often commissioned new works and has forged collaborations with producers, composers, and visual artists. Its activities have overlapped with the experimental pop sphere in Iceland, and individual Nordic Affect members have collaborated with Björk, among others. Nordic Affect has also played music of the 17th and 18th centuries, and it joined flutist Georgia Browne for an album of music for flute and strings by Carl Friedrich Abel on the Brilliant label in 2009. Its 2015 album Calm of the Deep featured Icelandic contemporary works. That same year Nordic Affect signed with the Sono Luminus label and released the album Clockworking. Raindamage followed in 2017, and in 2018 He(a)r appeared, focusing on female composers from Iceland and Estonia. The theme of women's role in music history had also been addressed in the group's HÚN/SHE project, heard on the European Broadcasting Service in 2016. Nordic Affect won the Performer of the Year award at the Iceland Music Awards in 2014, and they have been nominated for the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize.