Bjarni Frímann Bjarnason


Conductor in Residence

Bjarni Frímann Bjarnason is Conductor in Residence at the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Conductor of the Icelandic Opera.

Bjarnason studied violin in Reykjavík with Lilja Hjaltadóttir and Guðný Guðmundsdóttir (Iceland Symphony's former concertmaster) and completed his studies as a violist at the Iceland University of the Arts. In 2009, he won the Iceland Symphony Orchestra's Young soloists competition and performed Bartók's Viola Concerto with the orchestra. He later studied conducting with Fred Buttkewitz at the Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin.

Bjarnason has appeared widely in Europe as a violinist, violist, and pianist. He has conducted many of Iceland's leading orchestras, including the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra, and CAPUT. He has also composed music for theatre and film, both in Iceland and abroad. He has also appeared widely in concert as a collaborative pianist with singers, including concerts in the Berlin Philharmonie and the Vienna Konzerthaus.

In 2012, Bjarnason won first prize in the Hanns Eisler-competition in Berlin for his performance of Viktor Orri Árnason's Piano Variations. He was voted Young Musician of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2016. The same year he conducted the premiere of UR, an opera by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, at the operas in Oslo, Chur, Basel, and the Reykjavík Arts Festival. In 2016–17, Bjarnason conducted an orchestral concert with Björk at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, in Mexico City, and in Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík. He was appointed Principal Conductor of the Icelandic Opera in January 2018 and has conducted its productions of Tosca, Hansel and Gretel, and La traviata

Among his projects with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra have been a number of family and film concerts, and in spring 2019 he stepped in for Yan Pascal Tortelier in performances of works by Bizet, Louise Farrenc, and Brahms.