Rhinegold Photo credit: Ari Magg
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Owen Mortimer

Víkingur Ólafsson named Gramophone Artist of the Year 2019

8:00, 16th October 2019

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has been named Artist of the Year 2019 at the Gramophone Awards in London. His album Johann Sebastian Bach was singled out for particular praise by the Gramophone judges for revealing new possibilities in Bach’s music.

The recording (Deutsche Grammophon 483 5022GH) features diverse original compositions and transcriptions, including Ólafsson’s own. Gramophone recognised Ólafsson’s gift for ‘making something familiar feel entirely his own, drawing you into a world where no other interpretation seems possible.’

To celebrate the win, Deutsche Grammophon, for whom Ólafsson is an exclusive recording artist, has released a new music video and deluxe version of Johann Sebastian Bach featuring Bach Reworks.

In only a few years, Ólafsson’s originality and powerful musical conviction have made him one of the world’s most sought-after artists. His first recording on the prestigious yellow label, Philip Glass Piano Works, was also a huge success and saw him named ‘Iceland’s Glenn Gould’ by the New York Times.

Ólafsson’s coming seasons are marked by a series of high-profile international artist residencies at some of the world’s top concert halls. This begins in 2019-20 at Berlin Konzerthaus with 14 performances over 11 different projects. The season also sees Ólafsson perform John Adams’ Piano Concerto No 3 with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Netherlands Radio Orchestra (both conducted by the composer), as well as appearing with the Finnish Radio Orchestra (Klaus Mäkelä), Konzerthausorchester Berlin (Christoph Eschenbach), Hallé (Klaus Mäkelä), Hong Kong Philharmonic (Jaap van Zweden), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Ed Gardner), San Diego Symphony (Rafael Payare) and Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Daníel Bjarnason). Other key collaborations include projects with baritones Matthias Goerne and Florian Boesch, the Danish String Quartet and clarinettist Martin Fröst.

Ólafsson’s anticipated next album will be released by Deutsche Grammophon during the 2019-20 season, with recitals across Europe and Japan.

Read about Víkingur Ólafsson’s approach to Bach as told exclusively to International Piano: rhinegold.co.uk/international_piano/vikingur-olafsson-on-bach

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