Biography / CV
Ingi Bjarni Skúlason – biography
Icelandic artist Ingi Bjarni, whose full name is Ingi Bjarni Skúlason (pronunciation), is an improvising sound magician. He is both a pianist and composer, crafting enchanting tones and poetic melodies. In short, he creates his own kind of folk music with the freedom of expressiveness and space for both lyrical and free improvisation.
Composing music serves as an unintentional means for him to navigate various dimensions of life, including solitude, trauma, and relationships. Music can indeed function as a therapeutic remedy. Moreover, music enables him to convey emotions that he desires to share with those around him. He perceives music as a mode of communication that extends beyond our immediate existence. To him, music is a spiritual practice.
Ingi Bjarni is praised for his unique sound and innovative approach to improvisation, which is considered rare in the current music landscape. As Jazz Journal (UK) notes, “this intriguingly gifted pianist has for some time now shown an impressive ability to shape his own world, his own poetics.” His compositions feature a strongly narrative style that reflects the individuality of his musical units, enabling him to tell stories through music. In the Spring of 2020, he received five nominations for the Icelandic Music Awards for his quintet recording Tenging, and he was awarded as the most promising Icelandic jazz artist.
His fifth album, Farfuglar, or “travelling birds” in English, is a collection of original compositions with his quintet. The idea behind the album is that even when travelling is difficult, we can always journey as explorers of music! Also, we can connect through music, even if we are far apart. The album is inspired by jazz tradition, folk music, and in some ways, electronica. But in the end, it reflects Ingi’s desire to diminish boundaries shaped by genres. In September 2023, Ingi Bjarni recorded a new quartet featuring Anders Jormin on bass.
Ingi Bjarni attained a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at Den Haag, The Netherlands. From there, he went on to achieve a Master’s degree in composition from the University of Gothenburg, with exchange semesters in Copenhagen and Oslo. Tutors and mentors have included Misha Alperin, Anders Jormin, Helge Lien, Aaron Parks, Eyolf Dale, Eric Gieben, Agnar Már Magnússon, and Helge Sunde; and as a bandleader, Ingi Bjarni has performed at jazz festivals in Bremen (jazzahead), Hamburg (Elbjazz), Lillehammer, Vilnius, Copenhagen, Reykjavík, and the Faroe Islands.
• Fragile Magic (already recorded) – piano trio
• Hope (to be recorded September 2023) – quartet
• Flug (music is ready) – duo
PROJECTS, RESIDENCIES AND COLLABORATIONS
• Residency at Skrova Fyr (September 2022)
• Residency at Hólar í Hjaltadal (July 2021)
• In Duo With (2020 – 2021)
• Daily Improv (April 2021)
• MCN Jazz Residency (2019)
• Eyjafjalla Experience (2011 – 2013)
• Silfurberg (2010)
EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS
2016 – 2018: Masters education programme, ‘Nordic Master – The Composing Musician’, from Högskolan för scen och musik, Gothenburg, with two exchange semesters – one in Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium, Copenhagen, and the other in Norges Musikkhøgskole, Oslo.
2012-2016: Bachelor in Jazz Performance from Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag, The Netherlands.
2005-2011: F.Í.H. School of Music, Reykjavík, Iceland – with one exchange semester in Musikhögskolan Ingesund, Sweden (2010).
TUTORS AND MENTORS
Anders Jormin, Mikhail Alperin, Aaron Parks, Helge Lien, Simon Toldam, Nikolaj Hess, Jasper Soffers, Eyolf Dale, Juraj Stanik, Anders Persson, Hanne Boel, Maria Laurette Friis, Eric Gieben, Helge Sunde, Eyþór Gunnarson, Daniel Nolgård, Agnar Már Magnússon, Vignir Þór Stefánsson.
• Havana Music School (2023)
• Timani Introductory Course, Oslo (2017)
• RMC Jazz Summer Camp (2017)
• Berklee at Umbria Jazz Festival (2009)
• Menntaskóli í tónlist – jazz piano, substitute teaching (Spring 2023)
• Iceland Academy of Arts – guest teacher in project week (September 2022)
• F.Í.H. School of Music – jazz piano teacher (2019 – present)
• Iceland Academy of Arts – Lecture about flow (September 2020)
• Listaskóli Mosfellsbæjar – jazz piano teacher (2018 – 2022)
• Tónlistarskóli Kópavogs – jazz piano teacher (2018 – 2019)
• Private piano students – on and off since 2013
• Tónlistarskólinn á Akranesi – accompanist (2011)
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
• Award for Icelandic Music Prize as the most promising jazz artist (2020)
• Five nominations for Icelandic Music Awards for Tenging (2019)
• Ingi Bjarni Trio – nomination for Icelandic Music Awards as jazz performer of the year (2018)
• Märta, Sten och Stellan Hähnels minnesfond (2017)
• Nomination for Icelandic Music Prize as the most promising jazz artist (2014)
• Award for outstanding musicianship at Berklee Summer School in Umbria (2009)
• Most promising keyboard player at Músíktilraunir (2007)
“Tenging is a highly accomplished work of art that flows with ease and coherence….Ingi Bjarni is deserving of wide recognition for his skills as a composer as well as his perceptive piano playing.”
All About Jazz
“Preconceptions happily disintegrate as this nine-track session unfolds, offering a measured blend of folksy, tuneful
accessibility and sparky, creative unpredictability.”
London Jazz News
“a suite of genre-bridging music of captivating poetic ambience, rooted in an overall subtlety of melodic figure and rhythmic interaction….A distinctive and rewarding album, which impresses more and more with each hearing.”