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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
18/12/2018 Reykjavík Iceland Harpa
23/01/2019 Mexico City Mexico Auditorio Blackberry
26/01/2019 Seattle US The Moore Theatre
28/01/2019 Vancouver Canada Commodore Ballroom
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
01/02/2019 Los Angeles US Orpheum Theatre
02/02/2019 San Diego US The Observatory North Park
04/02/2019 Denver US Boulder Theater
07/02/2019 Chicago US Thalia Hall
08/02/2019 Toronto Canada Roy Thomson Hall
09/02/2019 Montreal Canada Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste
13/02/2019 Copenhagen Denmark Dr Koncerthuset/dr Concert Hall
14/02/2019 Stockholm Sweden Cirkus - Skandiascenen
14/02/2019 Stockholm Sweden Ólafur Arnalds – re:member 2019
15/02/2019 Stockholm Sweden Ólafur Arnalds – re:member 2019
17/02/2019 Helsinki Finland Kulttuuritalo
18/02/2019 Tallinn Estonia Alexela Concert Hall
20/02/2019 Vilnius Lithuania Compensa Concert Hall
21/02/2019 Warsaw Poland Torwar
22/02/2019 Poznan Poland Sala Ziemi, MTP
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
01/03/2019 Bern Switzerland Theater National
02/03/2019 Munich Germany Gasteig
03/03/2019 Vienna Austria Konzerthaus
05/03/2019 Frankfurt Germany Alte Oper
06/03/2019 Cologne Germany Kölner Philharmonie
08/03/2019 Rennes France Théâtre National de Bretagne
09/03/2019 Biarritz France Gare du Midi
11/03/2019 Porto Portugal Casa Da Música
12/03/2019 Madrid Spain Teatro Nuevo Apolo
13/03/2019 Lisbon Portugal Coliseu dos Recreios
15/03/2019 Barcelona Spain Palau de la Musica
16/03/2019 Toulon France Espace André Malraux
19/03/2019 Cardiff UK St David's Hall
21/03/2019 Leicester UK haymarket theatre and studio
22/03/2019 Glasgow UK SEC Armadillo
08/06/2019 Oslo Norway Oslo Konserthus
09/06/2019 Gothenburg Sweden Gothenburg Ballet Opera House