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Ólafur Arnalds

Born in 1986, Ólafur Arnalds hails from the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbær, just a few kilometres outside of Reykjavík. He was a drummer of hardcore metal bands Fighting Shit and Celestine before he immersed himself completely in a world of delicate symphonic compositions, generating near weightless orchestral pieces. Arnalds explores the crossover from classical to pop by mixing chamber strings and piano with discreet electronics and was one of the first artists to join Erased Tapes in 2007. His motivations are clear: “The classical scene is kind of closed to people who haven't been studying music all their lives. I would like to bring my classical influence to the people who don't usually listen to this kind of music, to open people's minds.”

Through relentless touring and determination the BAFTA-winning composer has steadily gained recognition worldwide since his debut Eulogy for Evolution. His 2008 follow-up EP Variations of Static earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field — transcending a traditional divide. He has sold out some of the world’s most renowned music venues including The Roundhouse and Barbican Hall in London, and has been awarded Best Live Session of 2008 by BBC radio presenter Gilles Peterson.

Arnalds has advanced from a former support-act for Sigur Rós to an internationally respected artist in his own right. In April 2009 Arnalds created the 7-song series Found Songs — recording a song a day for 7 days and instantly making each track available for free download.

2009 saw the release of Ólafur’s contemporary dance score Dyad 1909, commissioned by the award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor. The dance piece, inspired by Shackleton’s South Pole premiered at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre and became a much talked about 5 nights of live music, dance and visuals, broadcasted on primetime television. In 2010 he embarked on a sold-out tour to China before completing the second part of his 7 songs in 7 days experiment in 2011, this time filming each recording live in his new home in downtown Reykjavík, aptly titled Living Room Songs. Since he's fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a film composer, scoring the music for many motion pictures including Another Happy Day starring Ellen Barkin, with a soundtrack release on Erased Tapes in 2011, and the 2013 ITV series Broadchurch for which he won the 2014 BAFTA for Best Original Music.

Always a keen experimenter and innovator, Arnalds has constantly pushed the boundaries of music, and in addition to his solo and scoring work has a number of collaborative projects. Along with Janus Rasmussen of Bloodgroup he formed the minimal, experimental techno duo Kiasmos in 2009 who’s eponymously titled album was released in 2014. 

What started with a three-track EP titled Stare as a surprise 5th anniversary gift to label founder Robert Raths, became the foundation of Arnalds' musical friendship with fellow musician Nils FrahmThe duo's improvisations on pianos and synthesisers culminated with the release of their Collaborative Works in 2015, encompassing the three previous EP releases plus Trance Frendz — the audio recording of their intimate 45-minute studio film.

Upcoming shows

Date
City
Country
Venue
27/09/2018 Bath UK The Forum, Bath
28/09/2018 Birmingham UK Birmingham Town Hall
29/09/2018 Edinburgh UK Assembly Rooms
30/09/2018 Manchester UK Albert Hall
01/10/2018 Dublin Ireland National Concert Hall
05/10/2018 Hamburg Germany Elbphilharmonie - Großer Saal
06/10/2018 Dortmund Germany Konzerthaus Dortmund
07/10/2018 Wiesbaden Germany Friedrich Von Thiersch Saal
08/10/2018 Ludwigsburg Germany Forum Am Schlosspark
10/10/2018 Leipzig Germany Gewandhaus zu Leipzig
11/10/2018 Berlin Germany Tempodrom
15/10/2018 Linz Austria Posthof - Großer Saal
18/10/2018 Lausanne Switzerland Théâtre de l'Octogone
21/10/2018 Lyon France Auditorium de Lyon
22/10/2018 Bordeaux France Théâtre Femina
23/10/2018 Toulouse France Halle aux Grains
24/10/2018 Paris France Salle Pleyel
27/10/2018 Nijmegen Netherlands Concertgebouw De Vereeniging
28/10/2018 Groningen Netherlands De Oosterpoort
29/10/2018 Rotterdam Netherlands Rotterdamse Schouwburg
29/10/2018 Rotterdam Netherlands Rotterdamse Schouwburg
30/10/2018 London UK London Palladium
31/10/2018 London UK London Palladium
14/11/2018 Washington US Lincoln Theatre
15/11/2018 Philadelphia US Union Transfer
15/11/2018 Philadelphia US Union Transfer
17/11/2018 New York US Town Hall
18/11/2018 Boston / Cambridge US Berklee Performance Center
28/11/2018 Sydney Australia Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
29/11/2018 Canberra Australia Canberra Theatre Centre
28/01/2019 Vancouver Canada Commodore Ballroom
29/01/2019 Seattle US The Moore Theatre
29/01/2019 Portland US Revolution Hall
31/01/2019 SF Bay Area US The Warfield
02/02/2019 San Diego US The Observatory North Park
04/02/2019 Denver US Boulder Theater
07/02/2019 Chicago US Thalia Hall
14/02/2019 Stockholm Sweden Cirkus - Skandiascenen
14/02/2019 Stockholm Sweden Ólafur Arnalds – re:member 2019
24/02/2019 Brussels Belgium Cirque Royal
25/02/2019 Amsterdam Netherlands Royal Theatre Carré (Koninklijk Theater Carré)
26/02/2019 Düsseldorf Germany Tonhalle Düsseldorf
27/02/2019 Strasbourg France Salle Erasme, PMC
02/03/2019 Munich Germany Philharmonie im Gasteig
03/03/2019 Vienna Austria Konzerthaus
05/03/2019 Frankfurt Germany Alte Oper
06/03/2019 Cologne Germany Kölner Philharmonie
09/03/2019 Biarritz France Gare du Midi