Víkingur Ólafsson

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Víkingur Ólafsson (born 14 February 1984) is an Icelandic pianist. He has performed with orchestras in Europe and America,[1] and has won numerous awards for his playing, including four Performer of the Year awards at the Icelandic Music Awards,[2] and the Icelandic Optimism Prize.[3] In 2009, Víkingur was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize.[4] Víkingur was the soloist in the opening concert of Harpa in Reykjavík, playing Edvard Grieg's A-minor piano concerto with Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy.[5] Víkingur holds an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Víkingur Ólafsson grew up in Reykjavík and started playing the piano at an early age under the tutelage of his mother, a piano teacher.[7] He studied at The Juilliard School in New York, earning Bachelor's and Master's degrees under the supervision of Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald.[8] Víkingur also took lessons with Ann Schein.[9]


Víkingur has been active in promoting contemporary music. He has premiered six piano concertos by Icelandic composers including Snorri Sigfús Birgisson,[10] Daníel Bjarnason,[11] Haukur Tómasson,[12] and Þórður Magnússon.[13] Additionally, Víkingur has premiered solo and chamber works by Atli Ingólfsson,[14] Mark Simpson[15] and Mark-Anthony Turnage.[16]

Víkingur has taken part in collaborative performances with Philip Glass (in Reykjavík,[17] Gothenburg[18] and London[19][20]) and Björk, the latter taking place on the television programme Átta raddir, produced by Jónas Sen for RÚV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.[21]


In 2016, Víkingur signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and released a recording of Glass's piano works in January, 2017.[22] Before that, he released three albums on his own record label, Dirrindí:[23]


Víkingur has hosted two television series about classical music, which were broadcast on RÚV,[25] and were well received by critics.[26][27] Víkingur has also written and hosted radio programmes for Rás 1.[28]


In 2012, Víkingur founded Reykjavík Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Harpa, Reykjavík. The festival was awarded the Musical Event of the Year award at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2012, along with a special prize for innovation.[29] In 2015, Víkingur succeeded Martin Fröst as the artistic director of Vinterfest in Sweden.[30]

At the 2014 Transart Festival in Bolzano, Italy, Víkingur collaborated with Swiss artist Roman Signer in a happening titled Vers la Flamme – Ein Konzert mit Störung. Víkingur performed Alexander Scriabin's Vers la flamme on a floating stage on Lake Vernago with a helicopter hovering over him.[31]


  1. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson". Bach Cantatas. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Icelandic Music Awards – Previous winners (2006, 2011, 2012, 2014)". Icelandic Music Awards. ÍSTÓN. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Víkingur Heiðar hlaut bjartsýnisverðlaunin [Víkingur Heiðar Awarded the Optimism Prize]". Morgunblaðið. Árvakur. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Nominations for the Nordic Council's Music Prize 2009". Nordic Council Music Prize. Nordic Council. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ Sen, Jónas. "Gagnrýni: Fagurt er í Hörpu" [Review: It is Beautiful in Harpa]. Visir.is. 365 miðlar. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson Bio". Deutsche Grammophon. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson – a true classical music entrepreneur". Arcana. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson – piano". Harrison Parrott. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ Jónsdóttir, Bergþóra. ""Tónlist skapar einingu" [Music Creates Unity"]". Morgunblaðið. Árvakur. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ "CAPUT New Music Ensemble". CAPUT: Snorri Sigfús Birgisson (bio). Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  11. ^ Bjarnason, Daníel. "Processions". www.danielbjarnason.net. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  12. ^ Tómasson, Haukur. "Everything Has Changed. Nothing Has Changed". www.haukurtomasson.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Iceland's star pianist, Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson in concert tonight". Iceland Monitor / www.mbl.is. Morgunblaðið. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  14. ^ Smith, Steve. "In Iceland, a Festival of Present and Future". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Simpson, Mark: Echoes and Embers (2012)". Boosey and Hawkes.
  16. ^ "Turnage, Mark-Anthony: Cradle Song (2008)". Boosey and Hawkes. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  17. ^ Rogers, John. "Harpa Hypnotised by Philip Glass". The Reykjavík Grapevine. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Philip Glass The Etudes | Philip Glass, Maki Namekawa, Víkingur Ólafsson piano". Göteborgs-Posten. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  19. ^ Hewett, Ivan. "Philip Glass: The Études, Barbican, review: 'a well-oiled machine'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  20. ^ Fairman, Richard. "Philip Glass Etudes, Barbican, London — review". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Video: Oceania from Átta Raddir (02.27.2009). Björk, Jónas Sen, Víkingur Ólafsson". Youtube. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Frischer Wind bei Deutsche Grammophon: Víkingur Ólafsson feiert Album-Debüt beim Traditionshaus mit Werken von Philip Glass". Universal Music News. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson, Piano". HarrisonParrott. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  24. ^ "Icelandic Music Awards – Previous Winners (2012)". Icelandic Music Awards. ÍSTÓN. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Útúrdúr". www.ruv.is. RÚV [Icelandic National Broadcasting Service]. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  26. ^ Ingólfsson, Einar Falur. "Eðli tónlistarinnar skoðað af ástríðu [Passionately observing the nature of music]". www.mbl.is. Morgunblaðið. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  27. ^ Bergþórsdóttir, Kolbrún. "Smitandi áhugi [Contagious enthusiasm]". www.dv.is. DV. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Fjórar hendur og flygill [Four hands and a grand piano]". www.ruv.is. RÚV. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  29. ^ "Reykjavík Midsummer Music". Icelandic Music. IMX: Iceland Music Export. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  30. ^ "Víkingur Ólafsson ny konstnärlig ledare för Vinterfest [Víkingur Ólafsson Appointed Artistic Director of Vinterfest]". Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  31. ^ "Concerto per piano ed elicottero: il palco è in mezzo al lago". La Repubblica. Retrieved 16 November 2016.

External links[edit]

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