Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has had an impressive career so far, and to say his rise has been meteoric would be an absolute injustice.

Víkingur Ólafsson. Photo © Ari Magg

Since 2017, he’s released two highly-acclaimed albums with Deutsche Grammophon ( Philip Glass Piano Works , and Johann Sebastian Bach ), played the world’s biggest concert halls and performed concertos with any orchestra you can name, as well as premiered plenty of new concerti by contemporary composers. Even through text, his excitement to have won the Limelight International Artist of the Year 2019, Critic’s Choice, is palpable, describing it as a “wonderful honour”.

Ólafsson grew up in Iceland up with music all around him (his mother teaches piano, and his father is a composer as well as an architect) so it’s not unexpected that he should continue the family tradition. As he says, “in my upbringing, music was always about fun, there were no student competitions or anything of that sort… I was never asked to practise by my parents (though they were certainly happy when I did) and so my musical passion grew...