Creation and research; music, theatre and literature, these have taken Atli Ingólfsson on extensive residencies in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, although he finally settled down in his native Iceland in 2005, where he now holds the post of professor of composition at the Iceland University of the Arts.
He studied privately with Gérard Grisey, also becoming his assistant in a few projects, but before that he studied theory and composition in Reykjavik and at the Milan Conservatory, picking up a BA in philosophy on the way.
The quest for pure gesture, that might be said to be central to his work. Beyond structure, beyond sound, beyond communication even, pure gesture is something Theatre has inspired but something which in music can only be achieved through concentration, craftsmanship and courage. That is what Ingólfsson has been trying his hand at in all the various musical forms he has touched on during his career, from the virtuoso solo pieces – some of them already repertoire of their instruments – to chamber combinations, with or without electronic sound sources, to orchestral pieces, to actual music theatre pieces staged in Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
His work has travelled Europe with performers such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, L’Itinéraire, The Arditti Quartet, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, The ensembles Caput, FontanaMix, Icarus, Alter Ego and many others.
Of the roughly twenty published recordings of his works, one is a profile CD issued by Bis in Stockholm in 2005 and another a monograph recording and extensive booklet on the voicescape Elsku Borga mín, appearing in 2021.
“Several of his works reflect his interest in prosody, and rhythm and metrics may be said to occupy a central role in many of them (A verso, Le pas, les pentes, Envoi, La métrique du cri). In his recent work he has increasingly explored the point of contact between timbre, harmony and rhythm, which in his first String Quartet (HZH) leads to a constant dissolution between prevalently timbral, harmonic, or rhythmic situations, all of them issued from the same structural matrix. “ (Groves Dictionnary of Music and Musicians).
Several of Atli Ingólfsson’s works are published by BMG Ricordi in Milan.