Born in Iceland in 1962, Atli Ingólfsson received his first music education in his native town, Njardvik, studying guitar and harmony.  He had already composed a couple of small pieces before moving to Reykjavík where he entered the theory and composition department of the Reykjavík College of Music. There he studied composition with Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson and Atli Heimir Sveinsson, graduating in 1984, having also taken a final exam in guitar in 1983. He then remained one more year in Reykjavík to finish his BA degree in philosophy at the University of Iceland. After that he proceeded his composition studies in Milan with Davide Anzaghi at the Conservatorio G. Verdi, also attending a summer course with Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena in 1988. In the autumn of 1988 he moved to Paris where he started attending private lessons with Gérard Grisey. After a two year stay in Paris, where he also attended the Paris Conservatory as a guest student, he moved to Bologna, however still occasionally working as assistant to Gérard Grisey. He came back to Paris for a summer course in music informatics at IRCAM in the summer of 1992. From 1990 Atli Ingólfsson has been occupied principally by composition, residing until 2005 in Bologna, Italy.  From 2005 he has lived in Reykjavík with a partial occupation as composition teacher at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

He was chosen by the IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain reading panel to write a piece for Midipiano and ensemble. The resulting work, Envoi, was premiered in January 1995.
Besides this one, he has received commissions from several other ensembles and institutes such as the Swedish Concert Institute, Nuove Sincronie in Milan, Musica nel '900 in Trento, Mirkk Art Forum in Tokyo, Ensemble l'Itinéraire in Paris, the Berlin Biennale, The Caput Ensemble, The Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, Reykjavík 2000, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, The Venice Biennale.
His works have been widely performed and broadcast in Europe, and particularly in the Nordic countries. Among the performers of his works, beside the aforesaid, there are the Ensemble Avanti, The Arditti Quartet, The Oslo Sinfonietta, KammarensembleN, the SISU percussion trio, James Clapperton, Håkan Hardenberger and Frode Haltli, to name a few.

"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).

A profile CD of Atli Ingólfsson's music was issued by the BIS label in Stockholm in March 2005 (ENTER, BIS1298)

Some of his more recent works are published by Casa Ricordi in Milan.


Atli Ingólfsson was born in Iceland in 1962. He concluded his studies in classical guitar, theory and composition and philosophy (Reykjavík School of Music, University of Iceland) and published a book of poetry, before proceeding his composition studies at the Milan Conservatory with Davide Anzaghi. In 1988 he attended the summer course held by Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and moved to Paris, where he studied with Gérard Grisey, subsequently working as his assistant. In Paris he also attended the analysis courses held at IRCAM and the lessons of Betsy Jolas and Claude Ballif at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur. At present he lives in Reykjavík, dedicating himself exclusively to composition. Besides various Nordic concerts and festivals and radio transmissions in Europe, the works of Atli Ingólfsson have been presented in various important festivals such as Gaudeamus in Amsterdam ('91 and '92), Présences in Paris ('92 and '96), Nuove Sincronie in Milan ('91,'92 and '94), ISCM in Stockholm ('94), The Berlin Biennale ('99), The Ultima Festival ('01). He has received commissions from various ensembles and institutes such as the Swedish Concert Institute, Nuove Sincronie in Milan, Musica nel '900 in Trento, Mirkk Art Forum in Tokyo, Ensemble Intercontemporain and IRCAM in Paris, Ensemble l'Itinéraire in Paris and the Berlin Biennale. Some of his recent pieces are published by Casa Ricordi in Milan.