Víkingur Ólafsson was named Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards 2019, known as the “Oscars of the classical music world”. The Icelandic pianist accepted the prestigious prize in person during the awards ceremony which took place in London last night. The Gramophone Award was the latest honour for the critically-acclaimed pianist 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 Víkingur Ólafsson’s 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 made a second Bach video directed by Magnús Leifsson, a follow-up to last year’s captivating collaboration, offering another contemporary take on the composer’s music.
Director Leifsson was delighted to work with Víkingur Ólafsson again and remarked, “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.
Víkingur Ólafsson, described by The New York Times as “Iceland’s Glenn Gould”, made his Deutsche Grammophon debut with the January 2017 release of Philip Glass – Piano Works. Johann Sebastian Bach has received five-star reviews worldwide, as has Bach Reworks, the pianist’s performances of Bach transcriptions and works reimagined by today’s composers – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Peter Gregson, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Skúli Sverrisson among them.
Johann Sebastian Bach has been a resounding critical and commercial success and also topped multiple 2018 Album of the Year lists throughout the world. Praised for revealing new possibilities within the music, the recording 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.”
Víkingur Ólafsson’s coming seasons are marked by a series of high-profile international artist residencies at some of the world’s top concert halls.
Víkingur Ólafsson’s J. S. Bach – Works & Reworks can be bought here.