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Classical News

Víkingur Ólafsson To Present BBC Radio 3 Series ‘Transcribe, Transform’

Víkingur Ólafsson explores the art of musical transcription in his new series for BBC Radio 3 ‘Transcribe, Transform’ starting on 11 October.

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Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson. Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Ari Magg

“Breathtakingly brilliant pianist” (Gramophone) Víkingur Ólafsson explores the art of musical transcription in his three-part series for BBC Radio 3 Transcribe, Transform with Víkingur Ólafsson. Over three weeks (11, 18, 25 October) the Icelandic pianist explores how composers across the centuries have been reimagined in remarkably different and creative ways, showcasing the wealth of possibility represented by the transcription.

Transcribe, Transform with Víkingur Ólafsson

Víkingur Ólafsson approaches music without preconceptions. He explained, “Every note we play anywhere, any time, is a reinterpretation, a transcription.” Ólafsson’s love of re-examining music through the prism of a transcription underpins his new radio series Transcribe, Transform with Víkingur Ólafsson.

In the first episode of the series, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 11 October at 11pm BST, Víkingur Ólafsson focuses on the old and the new featuring music largely from the baroque and renaissance eras reimagined by composers from the 20th and 21st centuries. The programme will include Bach rearranged by Ruichi Sakamoto, Luciano Berio’s take on Henry Purcell and John Dowland transformed by Thomas Adès.

In the second episode of the series, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18 October, Víkingur Ólafsson explores the maximal and the minimal in arrangements. A grand baroque masterpiece is transformed by a jazz quartet, while a piano score is given the rock ’n’ roll treatment. The programme will include symphonic grandeur by Gustav Mahler transcribed for the organ and piano music by Schubert that Ólafsson prefers in the orchestral transcription by the violinist Joseph Joachim.

The series follows on from Víkingur Ólafsson’s BBC Radio 4 Front Row’s artist residency earlier this year, when he performed live from an empty Harpa concert hall in Iceland every week for three months during lockdown.

“The new superstar of classical piano”

“The new superstar of classical piano” (Daily Telegraph) Víkingur Ólafsson has become, in just a few years, one of the most sought-after artists of today. The pianist recently announced his new album Debussy • Rameau Reflections will feature contemporary reworks, by Ólafsson and other contemporary artists, from his critically-acclaimed recording Debussy • Rameau which topped the US and UK classical charts when it was released earlier this year. The global success of Debussy • Rameau followed that of his award-winning Johann Sebastian Bach album and its sister release, Bach Reworks, featuring reimaginings by diverse artists including Peter Gregson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Skúli Sverrisson.

For further information on Transcribe, Transform with Víkingur Ólafsson click here.

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Format: UK English
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