Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson's remarkable originality and powerful musical conviction have seen him, in just a few years, take the music world by storm to become one of the most sought-after artists of today. Growing up in Iceland, he studied with Erla Stefánsdóttir and Peter Máté and holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald.
Ólafsson founded his own record label, Dirrindí, in 2009 and released three albums, the third of which, Winterreise, won Album of the Year at the 2012 Icelandic Music Awards. That same year, he also took home the Musical Event of the Year Award for the Reykjavík Midsummer Music festival that he founded and for which he remains the Artistic Director. In 2016 he became Artistic Director of the Vinterfest in Sweden and remained in the role until 2019. Ólafsson has been an artist in residence at some of the world's top concert halls, including the Konzerthaus Berlin, Brussel's Flagey and London's Southbank Centre. He has performed with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner; the Cleveland Orchestra and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – both with John Adams; the San Francisco Symphony and Han-Na Chang; the New York Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov; the Camerata Salzburg and Andrew Manze; and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.
He made an unforgettable impact, however, with the release of his first three albums, "Philip Glass Piano Works" (2017), "Johann Sebastian Bach" (2018), and Debussy Rameau (2020) on Deutsche Grammophon, for whom he is an exclusive recording artist. He has since released two more acclaimed albums on the Yellow Label – "Mozart & Contemporaries" (2021) and "From Afar" (2022) – as well as being involved in multiple other recording projects calling on his skills as arranger and composer as well as performer. Having premiered five piano concertos to date, he has worked with composers including Philip Glass, Mark Simpson, and Daníel Bjarnason and collaborated with leading artists from diverse fields, such as Roman Signer, Lillevan, and Yann Malka.
With his captivating natural ability to communicate both on and off stage, Ólafsson is also the driver behind a number of original projects. In 2020 alone, he broadcast an eight-part series on Icelandic radio; presented his own primetime television series, Music Bites; and created his own three-part series on BBC Radio 3, Transcribe, Transform. Ólafsson was also artist in residence on BBC Radio 4's flagship arts programme, Front Row, broadcasting live, weekly performances from an empty Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík, reaching millions of listeners around the world.