Víkingur Ólafsson was hailed by [Gramophone] magazine as a “breathtakingly brilliant pianist”, who has “that rare combination of sheer technical brilliance, expressive control and interpretive depth”. With passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, the keyboard wizard from Iceland has long since played his way into the first rank of the pianists’ profession.
Víkingur Ólafsson was born in Reykjavik in 1984 and first studied in his homeland before moving to New York’s Juilliard School of Music to study under Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald. As a driving force of the young Icelandic classical music scene, he won almost all of the country’s major music prizes at an early stage. Numerous international awards followed, such as the Rolf Schock Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and two Opus Klassiks. Ólafsson appears as a guest with the world’s best orchestras, gives recitals in prestigious concert halls and is a regular performer at leading festivals. He has worked with composers such as Philip Glass, Mark Simpson and Daníel Bjarnason, and in 2017 performed the solo part in the world premiere of Haukur Tómasson’s Piano Concerto under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. Ólafsson was also artist in residence of the BBC 4 programme [Front Row], which reached an audience of millions with live broadcasts from Harpa, Reykjavík’s concert hall, during the Corona lockdown. In addition to his concert and recording work, the musician is also involved as a captivating communicator both on the concert stage and on other occasions. He also directs the award-winning chamber music festival Reykjavík Midsummer Music, which he founded.