Víkingur Ólafsson

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About Víkingur Ólafsson

Whether it is a Bach transcription, a Mozart concerto, or Adès' cross-rhythmic In Seven Days, Vikingur Ólafsson's piano playing sparkles. Born in 1984 in Reykjavík, Ólafsson was taught by his mother before going on to study at New York's Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal. The Icelandic pianist appeared on the soundtrack to 2017's Winston Churchill biopic, Darkest Hour, making his solo recording debut via Deutsche Grammophon in the same year. That collection of pieces by Philip Glass—released to mark the composer's 80th birthday—and subsequent Bach album (2018) secured Ólafsson's place in the pantheon of pianists; the latter was named BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Year in 2019. Ólafsson has given some unusual performances: In 2014 he participated in artist Roman Signer's installation Vers la Flamme—A Concert with Interruption, which saw the pianist perform Scriabin’s Vers la Flamme on a miniature floating stage in the middle of Lake Vernago in Italy as a helicopter descended from above, while during the 2020 lockdowns he broadcast weekly recitals from Reykjavík's then-empty concert hall Harpa (for BBC Radio 4's Front Row). Ólafsson's 2022 extended recital album, From Afar, features works by Brahms, György Kurtág, Robert Schumann, and others, recorded on both upright and grand pianos.

Rejkyavik, Iceland
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