Bedroom Community

Daníel Bjarnason

Daníel Bjarnason studied piano, composition and conducting in Reykjavík, Iceland before leaving to study orchestral conducting at the Freiburg University of Music, Germany.

As a composer, Daníel has worked with many different orchestras and ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, the Ulster Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Icleand Symphony Orchestra. Performances of his compositions have been led by conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon, John Adams, Ilan Volkov, André de Ridder, Anna-Maria Helsing and Alexander Mickelthwate. Daníel’s versatility has also led to collaborations with a broad array of musicians outside the classical field including Sigur Rós, Hjaltalín, Efterklang and Ben Frost.

Recent projects for Daníel have included a premiere of a new work for large orchestra co-commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The premiere took place in March 2015 under the baton of Louis Langrée. A new work for the Rambert Dance Company in the UK and a string quartet for the Calder Quartet were also premiered in the spring of 2015.

In August 2017, he will act as a co-curator, composer and conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Reykjavik Festival.

Daníel has released three albums on the Bedroom Community label, Processions (2010), Sólaris (2012) and Over Light Earth (2013).

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What the press says

...completely unique.

Arts Wrap (August 11th 2013) Read all reviews

This unearthly record by award-winning Icelandic artist Daníel Bjarnason is as ghostly and ethereal as the album artwork. Full-bodied soundscapes blend with half-harmonised snippets to create something complete, yet only partly tangible

The List (September 20th 2013) Read all reviews

It’s scarier than anything Bjarnason has done before, filled with the measured fury of a people who have had time to let their discontent really settle in.

Fluid Radio (September 20th 2013) Read all reviews

More exciting are the clashing layers of shimmering strings and turbulent horns on the three-part Emergence, whose lumbering, ominous melody hits its conclusion without resolving the piece’s unsettling harmonies, making for a tension-riddled trip to the very end.

Peter Margasak — Chicago Reader (September 23rd 2013) Read all reviews

...the music often sounds as if it’s suspended in space; woodwinds and strings swirl around pointillistic, muted piano notes and clusters; swells of brass splotch a sonic canvas of pulsing strings that hints at a shimmering surface underpinned by both meditative calm and chaos.

Q2 (September 24th 2013) Read all reviews

It’s the kind of ambitious narrative neoclassical work which fans of Valgeir Sigurðsson and Johann Johannsson will doubtless enjoy, beautifully realised and emotionally rousing, swimming with life and drama and tension.

Norman Records (October 3rd 2013) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...stunning and definitive statement from a composer poised to make meaningful contributions to the symphonic repertoire for years to come

Daniel Kushner — I Care If You Listen (October 28th 2013) Read all reviews

... this evening afforded the audience intimate access to one of the most exciting, thoughtful and inspired composers working today.

Burke Jam — Reykjavík Grapevine (November 5th 2013) Read all reviews

He’s a dynamic modern composer, one worth watching more closely.

Matthew Fiander — PopMatters (November 5th 2013) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

like a slightly uneasy ride on LSD

Alex Lee Thomson — Drowned In Sound (November 12th 2013) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...the music Daníel composes are instrumental soundscape pieces that take the listener on a spiritual journey.

The Wall Breakers (November 21st 2013) Read all reviews

With fierce intelligence confirmed, Bjarnason now seems primed for a romp through the rest of the 21st century.

Richard Allen — A Closer Listen (December 3rd 2013) Read all reviews

The results are nothing short of staggering.

Fractured Air (December 5th 2013) Read all reviews

This record is intentional, poignant, and brimming with profound vision.

Burke Jam — Reykjavík Grapevine (December 11th 2013) Read all reviews

...expect to see much more of Bjarnason’s music over the years ahead.

Richard Whitehouse — Gramophone (December 18th 2013) Read all reviews

Slow but spellbinding…exploration of tonal and textural ambience.

Halcyon (April 2nd 2011) Read all reviews

A sparse, deeply moving piece.

This is a smart, sometimes exhilarating tribute to a challenging, heartbreaking and singular film.

Fred Nolan — Fluid Radio (October 20th 2011) Read all reviews

Mostly strings—the frosty, crystalline sort that seem to only come out of Scandinavia—piano (deployed like its notes are diamonds), and only the slightest electronic textures, you’ll feel just as well the undefined but real threat of Sólaris’ mystery planet, however much you know the actual film.

Michael Byrne — City Paper (November 2nd 2011) Read all reviews

This is an elegant, sometimes turbulent hour. Shortlisted for album of the year.

The Muse In Music (November 2nd 2011) Read all reviews

The beautifully sculpted results are subtle, sensuous and often majestic

Boomkat (November 4th 2011) Read all reviews

Tense, grave, unsettling but also subtle, majestic and sensuous.

Iceland Review (November 7th 2011) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

It grabs you not by the throat, but almost by your very essence.

Luke Slater — Drowned In Sound (November 8th 2011) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

“...extraordinary, grandiose and haunting score [...} Highly recommended for all fans of ambient and modern classical music.”

Headphone Commute (November 12th 2011) Read all reviews

A nerve-fraying, tension-laden listen, Sólaris should be regarded as a triumph for both composers and as a very welcome added dimesnion to an already greatly-revered work of cinematic art.

Paul Robertson — Bearded Magazine (November 28th 2011) Read all reviews

SÓLARIS is one of the year’s most sinister song suites, a startling miasma of prepared piano, cutting chords and strings that seem to be strangling your speakers ever so slowly.

self-titled magazine (November 30th 2011) Read all reviews

Shrouded in mystery and cloaked in melancholy, the album is an elusive beast.

Sputnikmusic (December 8th 2011) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...deeply introspective, nuanced and emotionally charged, Sólaris is a magnificent piece of modern classical music.

The Milk Factory (December 8th 2011) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

This alluring symphonic suite for string orchestra, prepared piano and guitars, from two Reykjavik buddies, made us want to turn off all the lights, run a bath and settle in for a long, healing winter hibernation. (On their Best Classical Albums Of 2011 list)

Time Out New York (December 12th 2011) Read all reviews

A powerful and dramatic treatment that effectively distills the film’s essence into abstract sound form.

textura (December 29th 2011) Read all reviews

In the end, you feel the simultaneous effect of a flash freeze and slow thaw, broken down and rebuilt from scratch. And then you hit “Play” again.

Q2 (December 29th 2011) Read all reviews

...a master stroke because it is its own expression, as much a representation of Bjarnason and Frost as it is of their interpretations of Tarkovsky’s film. In that, it stands as one of the best film scores of all time. And on its own, it is one of the most successful modern classical compositions you could hear.

Neil Levens — Groovemine (January 10th 2012) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...the rush of sensations and almost tactile quality make this album a worthy entity in its own right.

Tobias Carroll — Dusted (February 7th 2012) Read all reviews

…this album is pretty damn good. Pretty, pretty damn good

Clyde Bradford — The Reykjavík Grapevine (February 7th 2012) Read all reviews

Unnervingly haunting.

Sage L. Weatherford — Heathen Harvest (February 15th 2012) ★★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

The perfect collaboration of two masters of tension through minimalist, epiphanies through noise and chaos, and beauty through disconnection and isolation

Bobby Power — Foxy Digitalis (February 20th 2012) Read all reviews

...powerful in its own right.

Matthew Ellis — Folk Radio UK (March 9th 2012) ★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

...highly recommended.

Cavin Young — The Silent Ballet (March 11th 2012) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

 Processions deserves to be [Bjarnason's] global breakthrough. It’s the sound of fire and instinct, the musical equivalent of a controlled burn. Perhaps all sounds to silence come, but thanks to Bjarnason, that sonic Armageddon seems a long distance away.   

Richard Allen — The Silent Ballet (January 27th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

“Surely one of the most bombastic modern classical albums you’re likely to hear all year”.

Boomkat (February 1st 2010) Read all reviews

 “Daniel Bjarnason brings the magic of Icelandic music to the classical world. A musical statement not to be missed.” 


Tyler Fisher — SputnikMusic (April 28th 2010) ★★★★★★★★★ Read all reviews



Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Cruel Miracles

A teaser for SÓLARIS by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason featuring the song Cruel Miracles.

Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Saccades

A teaser for SÓLARIS by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason featuring the song Saccades.

Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Reyja

A teaser for SÓLARIS by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason featuring the song Reyja.

Daníel Bjarnason - Air to Breath

Video by Una Lorenzen, music by Daníel Bjarnason. The visuals are made from photographs and 16mm shots from Iceland, by Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir.

Daníel Bjarnason - Blood to Bones

Video by Una Lorenzen, music by Daníel Bjarnason. The visuals are made from photographs and 16mm shots from Iceland, by Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir.

Daníel Bjarnason - Sorrow Conquers Happiness

Video by Una Lorenzen, music by Daníel Bjarnason. The visuals are made from photographs and 16mm shots from Iceland, by Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir.

Daníel Bjarnason - Processions (live at the Icelandic Music Awards 2010)

Composer of the Year, Daniel Bjarnason presents a special excerpt from his Piano Concerto - Processions. With soloist Vikingur Heidar Olafsson, strings and percussion.

Draumalandið (Dreamland) Music Examples

Here are a few music examples from Draumalandið (Dreamland), a documentary about the exploitation of Iceland’s natural resources, tells a story about huge things—the fortunes of a whole nation; the destruction of vast landscapes; and the global economic forces, greater still than any nation, that fuel it all—and for his soundtrack to the film, Valgeir has brought out a heavier set of tools. His entire roster of Bedroom Community labelmates contributes in some way to the creation of the score: classical composers Nico Muhly and Daníel Bjarnason, industrial wizard Ben Frost, and American folksinger Sam Amidon, along with a host of others, and the small orchestra assembled for the record swells from moments of expansive beauty into massive, surging symphonic force. Its harmonies are anxious, pulsing, driven.

Latest News


Over Light Earth
Released on 30 September 2013
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Released on 7 November 2011
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Released on 1 February 2010
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