Víkingur Ólafsson set to dazzle Australian audiences

by Barbara

Prepare to be blown away by the exceptional talent of Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson as he makes his highly anticipated Australian debut in March 2024. The Adelaide Festival will have the privilege of hosting Ólafsson for two unforgettable concerts, followed by performances in Sydney and Melbourne.

This virtuoso musician is in high demand all around the world, and it’s no wonder why. Ólafsson’s ability to breathe new life into classical music has earned him a well-deserved reputation as one of today’s most sought-after artists. His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, including the critically acclaimed albums Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018), Debussy Rameau (2020), Mozart & Contemporaries (2021), and From Afar (2022), have collectively amassed over 600 million streams.

Prepare yourselves for another musical masterpiece, as Ólafsson is set to release his latest album featuring Bach’s monumental and enigmatic Goldberg Variations on 6 October.

Speaking about the Goldberg Variations, Ólafsson shares, “To me, the true brilliance of this piece lies not in its overall structure, but in the intricacy of each individual variation. As each one unfolds, it captivates and transports the listener into its own unique and mesmerizing world. The joy of discovering and unveiling the hidden depths of each variation is an experience like no other.”

Born in Reykjavík in 1984, Ólafsson was raised in a deeply musical household. His mother, a talented pianist, nurtured his talent from a young age, while his father’s dual expertise as a composer and architect provided a rich and diverse artistic environment. After completing his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, Ólafsson burst onto the classical music scene in 2011, astonishing audiences with his rendition of Grieg’s Piano Concerto alongside the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the legendary Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Limelight Editor at Large Clive Paget describes Ólafsson as “a phenomenal and captivating musician who has achieved the pinnacle of his profession. He is a force to be reckoned with.” In fact, Ólafsson was honored as the Limelight International Artist of the Year in 2019, solidifying his place among the greatest musicians of our time.

His groundbreaking album featuring music by Debussy and Rameau was recognized as the Limelight 2020 Recording of the Year, further cementing his status as a trailblazer in the industry. Additionally, his highly acclaimed Mozart & Contemporaries album received the prestigious title of Limelight 2021 Instrumental Recording of the Year.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie expresses her excitement, stating, “We feel truly privileged to welcome one of the world’s leading pianists to Adelaide and Australia for the very first time. I am eagerly anticipating his extraordinary and innovative interpretation of the Goldberg Variations, which holds a special place in my heart as one of the greatest musical works of all time.”

In Sydney, Ólafsson will collaborate with the illustrious Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the remarkable Sir Donald Runnicles, to perform Ravel’s mesmerizing Piano Concerto in G, in addition to his captivating rendition of the Goldberg Variations.

Prepare yourself for an awe-inspiring musical journey as Víkingur Ólafsson graces Australian stages with his extraordinary talent. This is an experience not to be missed.

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