Born in 1986, Ólafur hails from the suburban Icelandic town, Mosfellsbær, just a few kilometres outside of Reykjavík. He has immersed himself 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. 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…open people's minds.”
Through relentless touring and determination this young artist has steadily gained recognition worldwide since his 2007 debut 'Eulogy for Evolution'. He has sold out some of the world’s most renowned music venues, including Barbican Hall in London, supporting fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós on their most recent European shows. Ólafur's BBC Radio 1 live session for Gilles Peterson was awarded the best live session of 2008 by Gilles himself. The 2008 follow-up EP ‘Variations of Static’ earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field – transcending a traditional divide.
Since then Ólafur has written music for advertisements for Falck, Sony, Icelandair and others, as well as having his music featured in several films. One of the world's most successful fashion designers, Dries Van Noten, asked Ólafur to write and play live the music accompanying his Autumn/Winter 2008 fashion show at the Paris Fashion Week.
With the next full-length release due this winter, Ólafur conceived ‘Found Songs’ as a way to collate several lost and found musical sketches and ideas in a 'very challenging, but fun' series. He created, recorded and released online for free, one song per day for a week. The experiment offers its listeners an intimate insight into Ólafur Arnalds’ creative world – so far more than 100.000 people downloaded the ‘Found Songs’ series via foundsongs.erasedtapes.com.
Not only did Ólafur release the songs by unconventional means, but he also invited his fans to participate by sending in artwork inspired by the songs. Ólafur chose his 7 favorite photographs which now accompany the CD and vinyl release of Found Songs. Ólafur also chose a video, submitted by Estebán Diacono, to be the official video for 'Ljósið'. The video has been a great success and has been seen online by over 700.000 people as well as having been featured in many of the most prestigious design magazines around the world and art galleries.
Arnalds' growing reputation has also won him the attention of the internationally renowned British dance choreographer Wayne McGregor who has invited Ólafur to score his brand new work. ‘Dyad 1909’ was premiered in London at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre last October.
Ólafur recently finished his highly anticipated second full-length album '…and they have escaped the weight of darkness' with the help of co-producer Barði Jóhannsson (Bang Gang). The long-player is due for a spring 2010 release, accompanied by an extensive world tour starting with China in late March, Europe mainland throughout May. UK and North American dates in Autumn.