Ólafur Arnalds – Iceland’s finest young composer

Iceland is known for having one of the longest working weeks in Europe. People work on average between 46 and 49 hours per week, with most individuals working several jobs. This may help explain the prolific creative output of one  Ólafur Arnalds – a 27 year old composer from Iceland.

Ólafur Arnalds

Despite his relatively young age, Arnalds already has eight album releases to his name (including his most recent release – For Now I Am Winter), as well as providing the soundtrack to four full length films, a ballet and a television miniseries. He has toured extensively with Sigur Ros and performed throughout Europe and Asia. Whilst he has yet to conquer North America he recently featured on the bill for South by Southwest, accumulating plenty of new fans who have also tuned into his philosophy that not all classical music has to sound like Mozart.

At 27, Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds has already accomplished more than most musicians do in a lifetime.

His aim is clear. By combining classical symphonic compositions with edgy beats and loops he aims to change our perceptions of classical music. As he said himself, he wants to make “ classical music for people who don’t really listen to classical music”.

What endears Arnalds to his fans is that it is often difficult to predict what he will do next. Take his most recent album for example. The addition of vocalist

Ólafur Arnalds

Arnor Dans (singing in English) add a rich tapestry to Arnalds compositions that will undoubtedly make people sit up and take notice.

Both sophisticated and edgy, Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds deals in rich contrasting textures and creates a sound that is uniquely his. What he does next is anyones guess. But I for one cannot wait to find out.

Travel Guide Iceland – Jón J. – Reykjavík

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