Víkingur Ólafsson on role models, influences and becoming a pianist

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 16:03

Víkingur Ólafsson, who made his International Piano Series at Southbank Centre in October 2017, is a pianist doing things his own way, as this four-part quick-fire video interview with Deutsche Grammophon highlights.

Still just 33 years old, Ólafsson’s piano talents are already making huge classical waves, but how did this Icelandic artist get started on the instrument that is now such an intrinsic part of his life?

1 How did you become a pianist FINAL 2

Ólafsson’s accolades are as varied as his career, with The New York Times dubbing him ‘Iceland’s Glenn Gould’ in August this year. He has won the Icelandic Optimism Prize, set up the award-winning festival Reykjavík Midsummer Music and worked with leading composers including Philip Glass, Mark Simpson and Daníel Bjarnason.

But in spite of his iconoclastic streak, Ólafsson is quick to credit those who he considers role models.

2 Who are your role models FINAL 2

Growing up with parents who are musicians, meant that the familiar yellow label of Deutsche Grammophon was never far from Ólafsson’s eye as he discovered the music for himself. So how did someone who grew up with the label, feel about finding himself on it with his recording of Philip Glass’ piano works?

How do you feel about your first DG recording?

Age 10, Ólafsson got to take the next step in his musical journey, as he purchased his first record. So, who was on that first CD?

What was the first album you ever bought?

Víkingur Ólafsson appeared in London at the International Piano Series in November 2017, as part of Southbank Centre’s year long celebration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. The International Piano Series runs until June 2018.

find out more