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Interview: Maximus Musicus

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Maximus Musicus logoInterview date: 16 July 2014

Interviewed by: Tanja & Vassanta



Maximus Musicus: Introduction


The story:

Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir, the principle flutist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, along with her personal interests in books as well as her own children being 6 & 8 at the time; Hallfríður designed a book (and now a series of books) with accompanying classical music with the aim to provide good music to children.


Research Questionnaire

1. Name: Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir

2. Email address: Haffi [at]

3. Phone number: +345 861 3337

4. Your title in the company: Founder and Author

5. Company Name: Maximus Musikus / / Kt 670109-0540

6. Industry: Music / Education

7. Company years in operation: 2009

8. Type of company: Private Limited companies (“Einkahlutafélag” (ehf)

9. How many employees does your company have: 1 employee, (2 hours a day)

10. Annual turnover: (not provided)

11. Description of company: The company leases out a package to symphony orchestras to perform the entire book live. The package contains all the sheet music, i.e. parts for each instrument and the score for the conductor and a script for the producer and technician as well as a PowerPoint slide presentation with all the illustrations that takes the children (family) through the book’s storyline.

“We think about the life of the child”. Book themes with four different aspects of music and with different social messages:

Book 1: The Orchestra, introducing instruments and musicians. Raising awareness of classical music and its effect on imagination and feelings.

Book 2: The Music School, showing that children can also play instruments, as well as raising awareness of the sounds of the environment, especially birdsong.

Book 3: Dance and the Ballet, encouraging movement to music as well as introducing the classical ballet and how fantastic it is to have a friend that helps.

Book 4: Singing and the Choir. Celebrates the joy of singing and singing together. It also shows the Icelandic nature. The social aim here is to tell children to have the courage to be themselves no matter what others may think.

12. Company Mission: To provide edu-tainment in the form of good music for children and families.

13. Description of social / environmental mission: Aimed at children to provide a better quality of life through the enjoyment of music and to open up the child’s imagination through music. It also enables children to give words to their feelings.

14. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise? “Yes I think so.”

15. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises? Projects that aim towards enhancing the quality of life for people.


Questions related to the definition

16. Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents? Yes: bring music to children through merchandise and performances.

17. Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

“I did receive grants in the past, but not so much now.”  Themajority of income is via trade.

18. Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much? Yes

19. Is your company autonomous of state? Yes

20. Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?Yes

21. Is your company accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders) Yes as in filing legal tax and documentation.

22. Who are you clients / focus group? Children ages 3-8

23. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (e.g. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.)

1) Orchestra: shows being made available to the public, selling out fast.

2) Shows being booked by other orchestras world-wide

3) People tell personal stories, and know of the book(s) – which sell very well

4) Children recognize the instruments

24. As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products/services (e.g. assisted 1,000 people access to health care they won’t have otherwise).

1) 5-7 school concerts a year, as well as family concerts with very low ticket prices.

Two free concerts with a capacity for 1350 people were sold out in 2 hours.

2) Number of people with personal stories haven’t been recorded, but have increased

3) Orchestras in other countries have performed the shows. Together with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, 12 different orchestras have given 85 concerts in 17 different towns and cities in Iceland, Australia, Germany, Austria, UK, US, Faroe Islands and Sweden in the years 2008 – 2014.

4) Music schools: not a metric as yet, but there is a desire to increase the number of instruments available for children in general in Iceland, as funding for music schools has decreased and the costs are high for families. Hallfríður would like to see a similar project such as El Sistema Venezuela in Iceland.


Social enterprise sector

25. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member?

“Absolutely, I’m a great believer in collaboration and how people can benefit from knowing each other and working together. So if there would be something connected to that, which would make social enterprise more able to bring information to people then for sure I would want to be a part of that.”

26. What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?

Need volunteers / workers for small projects in the business such as:

Website update: expand it, get more info into it, add some merchandise and add a special kids section to make it more children friendly

Follow-up on connections already established in the music world in order to sell the music in other countries

Contacting people for doing projects


27. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?

Being able to reach the poorest children / families or children with learning difficulties as well as helping in general to uphold a high quality of social solidarity and positive attitude towards everyone in society.

28. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

– Landvernd

-G”unnsteinn Ólafsson has done many good things including fighting for nature, making a new museum about folk music in Siglufjörður, curating a folkmusic festival there every year and writing a children’s opera about nature with some social skills morale worked into the story.”

-Bryndís Guðmundsdóttir and Védís Hervör Árnadóttir have done an app to help children learn to pronounce words correctly:


Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.

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