Kolbeinn Bjarnason was born in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1958. He studied philosophy and literature at The Icelandic University and flute at Reykjavík College of Music.

He graduated from R.C.M in 1979 and continued his studies with Austrian flute player Manuela Wiesler and several other leading flautists, like avant garde virtuosi Robert Aitken, Robert Dick and Harvey Sollberger.

Kolbeinn finished his M.A. degree in composition from Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2013.

The Flute

Active in the ever changing new music scene for decades Kolbeinn Bjarnason has performed in various European countries, USA, Mexico and Japan.

Among Icelandic composers who have dedicated their works to him are: Atli Heimir Sveinsson, Hafliði Hallgrímsson, Leifur Þórarinsson, Þorsteinn Hauksson and Sveinn Björnsson.

Internationally he has worked with such disparate composers as Toshio Hosokawa, Hiroyuki Itoh, Noriko Miura, Brian Ferneyhough, Doina and Diana Rotaru, Hans-Henrik Nordström and Simon Mawhinney to name but a few.  

His recordings of the flute music of Hosokawa and Ferneyhough have received international acclaim.

Selected Discography:

  • Flute solos by Lavista, Huber, Sollberger, Ferneyhough, Hallgrímsson and Haukson.  Audiar-Italy/Japis-Iceland 1995

  • Leifur Thorarinsson:  Music for flute and harpsichord – with Gudrún Óskarsdóttir, harpsichord.  Badtaste 1999

  • Brian Ferneyhough:  The complete music for solo-flute.  Bridge 2002

  • Toshio Hosokawa:  Music for flute – with Caput ensemble.  Naxos 2010 

Bjarnson is co-founder of Caput ensemble.

The Works

Kolbeinn Bjarnason is one of the latest starters in the field of composition. Just a handful of works have been written and performed. The largest up to date are “Un sonido entre las piedras” (2012) a cycle around Pablo Neruda's poems in nine parts for soprano, alto-flute, viola and harp and "Caputsónata" (2013) for sinfonietta dedicated to the memory of the great flute virtuoso Manuela Wiesler.  
Unsuccessfully striving for being more conservative in creating music than in playing the flute his music seems to lack coherence, style and taste!