Víkingur Ólafsson to present a three-part series exploring the art of musical transcription

06 October 2020
By Ellie Palmer
'Transcribe, Transform' will air on BBC Radio 3 over three weeks on 11, 18 and 25 October

Main image: © Ari Magg

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson is set to host a three-part series on BBC Radio 3. The series will explore how composers across the centuries have been reimagined in remarkably different and creative ways, showcasing the wealth of possibility represented by the transcription.

Ólafsson’s passion for re-examining music through the prism of a transcription underpins the new radio series, as he presents a wide variety of music from electronic re-workings of Debussy and composers’ transcribed sounds of the natural world, to a grand Baroque masterpiece transformed by a jazz quartet and a piano score given the rock 'n' roll treatment.

Approaching music without preconceptions; Ólafsson comments, “Every note we play anywhere, anytime, is a reinterpretation, a transcription.”

The series runs on BBC Radio 3 at 11pm BST on 11, 18 and 25 October 2020. It follows on from his BBC Radio 4 Front Row’s artist residency earlier in 2020, when he broadcast live from an empty Harpa concert hall every Friday night for three months during lockdown.

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Ólafsson most recently appeared on the cover of issue 116 of Pianist, which is available in both print and digital.


Episode 1 airs Sunday 11 October at 11pm. You can tune in here.