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.

Upcoming projects for Daniel include a premiere of a new work for large orchestra co-commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The premiere will take 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 will also be premiered in the spring of 2015.

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

 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.

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Over Light Earth
Released on 30 September 2013
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Released on 1 February 2010
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