Víkingur Ólafsson named Gramophone Artist of the Year 2019

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By Ellie Palmer

21 October 2019

Latest honour for the critically-acclaimed pianist following Opus Klassik, BBC Music Magazine & Icelandic Music Awards

Víkingur Ólafsson has been announced as Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards 2019.

The Icelandic pianist accepted the prestigious prize in person during the awards ceremony, which took place at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in central London. The Gramophone victory adds to an impressive run of award-winning success for Ólafsson and his Deutsche Grammophon album Johann Sebastian Bach – he has already won Performer of the Year and Album of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards (March 2019), Best Instrumental Album and overall Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards (April 2019) and Best Solo Recital at the Opus Klassik Nacht in Berlin (October 2019).

To celebrate Ólafsson’s triumphant award season, Deutsche Grammophon, for whom he is an exclusive recording artist, has released J. S. Bach – Works & Reworks, a deluxe version of his two Bach albums. Ólafsson has also teamed up once again with director Magnús Leifsson to make a second Bach video – a follow-up to last year’s captivating collaboration – offering another contemporary take on the composer’s music.

Ólafsson's deluxe album

Leifsson was delighted to work with Ólafsson again: “I feel I’ve never worked with an artist where the whole process of bouncing ideas around is such a nice creative dialogue filled with humour and trust.” The atmospheric new video accompanies the Andante from Bach’s Organ Sonata No.4, transcribed by August Stradal. Watch the teaser clip here.

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. This season also sees Ólafsson give the French première of John Adams’ Piano Concerto No.3 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and perform the work with Netherlands Radio Orchestra (both conducted by John Adams), as well as give concerts with 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). Ólafsson will also collaborate with Martin Fröst, Matthias Goerne, Danish String Quartet and Florian Boesch.