CEO, composer & LISP programmer

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1995 – Licentia doctorand in composition from the Sibelius Academy in Finland

1991 – Candidate of Music (Cand.Mus) in composition from the Sibelius Academy in Finland

1986-1995 – Composition studies with Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy in Finland

1984-1986 – Electronic and computer music studies at the Utrecht Conservatory and Institute for Sonologie in Holland

1984 – Bachelor of Music (BMus) from the Reykjavík College of Music



2016 University of Iceland, Computer department lecturer

2014 Erki-tonlist sf. CEO, and director of CalmusAutomata research project

2005 Iceland University of the Arts: Professor and programme director of composition & theory

2001-2005 Iceland University of the Arts:  Adjunkt

1994-2005 Reykjavik College of Music:  Teacher


Various Assignments

2000 Artistic Director and Producer of three festivals as part of Reykjavík Cultural Capital of Europe

2002 Composer in residence: New York University

2005 – 2006 Design and implementation of European Joint Masters Program (New Audiences and Innovative Performance) IUA

2006 Major revision and restructuring of composition programme IUA (BA-level)

2006 Design and implementation of first MA study programme in composition IUA (being the first MA programme within the arts in Iceland)

2007 Admissions panel (competence assessment) for lektor position at Høgskolen i Tromsø, Norge

2008 – 2015   Member of Nordic Music Prize Committee (Chair 2009)

2010 – 2012 COST-SID European Research Network – supported by the European Union

2011 – 2015 International Conference on systems, man, and cybernetics  SMC2011 SMC2012 SMC2014 SMC2015

2011 Composer in residence: Bristol Unversity

2012 – 2017 Member of Artistic Advisory Board, Harpa Conference and Concert Centre, Reykjavík.

2014 Vurdering/Validation – Det norske Prosjektprogrammet (Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education) Program for artistic research and development (utviklingsprogram) Norway.

2014 Composer in residence:  Brandon University,  Canada

2018 Working group “creation”, European Agenda for Music European Music Council



2000 Viola concerto – Iceland Music award

2001 for composition of the year

1985 Dimma, prize for young composers Iceland Radio Broadcasting Service


Artistic Profile

Kjartan Ólafsson is one of Iceland‘s best known composers and researchers within the field of music. He has composed music for chamber orchestra, solo instruments, voice, and electronics; computer music, large scale orchestra works and concertos, music for theatre and music for children. His music has been performed in concerts in over 30 countries, e.g., in international festivals such as ISCM, ICMC, Nordic Music Days, Dark Music Days and ErkiTid. His Viola Concerto received the Icelandic Music Award in 2002 as Composition of the Year. Many of his compositions have been released on CDs’ see here. Kjartan is a renowned Icelandic musicologist, a notable composer and an authority on AI in classical music composition; he has served as Professor of Composition and Theory at the Iceland University of the Arts and is currently conducting artistic research on the use of AI in composition. He currently works as a composer, CEO of Erki-Tónlist sf., director of the artistic research project CALMUS Automata and lecturer about AI in composition.


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Kjartan is currently directing the largest  international  research project in music in Iceland, CalmusAutomata. His investigative work into composition, based on the use of Artificial Intelligence for musical composition, is internationally acclaimed. Among his research topics are the development of AI analytical functions, such as for cell creation, cell complexity, melodic development, scales, and for algorithmic evaluation of harmony according to colour, tension and harmonic (overtone) relations. Other topics include AI generative functions for melody construction and harmony control with metamorphosis options. The result of his research includes numerous diverse compositions; concerts; a dance project where dancers control the composing process; music composed in real time with the help of audiences; written articles; workshops; lectures; demonstrations; a TV program; and educational activities and outputs. CalmusAutomata is one of the first artistic research projects to receive a financial support from The Icelandic Centre for Research supported by the government. The grounds for this support is the cooperation and interaction between artists, academies, companies and the innovative companies. Apart from the main software, CalmusComposer, there are three innovation projects that have been completed through the cooperation between these partners.


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Lectures & Workshops

Since 1994 Kjartan has taught at all levels of the Icelandic school system, although mainly within Higher Education – the Iceland University of the Arts (2001-2014) and the University of Iceland. He was appointed as the first professor in composition in Iceland in 2005 and has been visiting professor at over 20 universities and academies around the world, giving master classes and private lessons in composition.

Kjartan has given numerous lectures abroad with special emphasis on AI in composition and the CALMUS composition program.


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