Ólafsson made an unforgettable impact with the release of his three albums, Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018) and Debbusy Rameau (2020) on Deutsche Grammophon, for whom he is an exclusive recording artist. Praised for revealing new possibilities within the music, Johann Sebastian Bach – featuring diverse original compositions and transcriptions, including Ólafsson’s own – has appeared in multiple best albums of the year lists, was named one of the greatest ever Bach recordings in Gramophone, won the 2019 Opus Klassik Piano Recital Album of the Year award and won Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019. Ólafsson’s previous album, Philip Glass Piano Works was an equal success and saw him named “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” by the New York Times. Ólafsson was named the 2019 Gramophone magazine Artist of the Year and Limelight magazine’s International Artist of the Year 2019.
With a captivating ability to communicate both on and off-stage, Ólafsson’s coming seasons are marked by a series of high-profile international artist residencies at some of the world’s top concert halls. This began in 2019-20 at the Konzerthaus Berlin, and will in the coming season include residencies at Brussel’s Flagey and London’s Southbank Centre. Ólafsson was also Artist in Residence in Spring 2020 on Front Row on BBC Radio 4, broadcasting weekly live performances from an empty Harpa concert hall during lockdown.
This season, we will see Ólafsson collaborate with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He will perform the season opening concerts for the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Ed Gardner, and further perform with the Cleveland Orchestra with John Adams, San Francsico Symphony with Han-Na Chang, New York Philharmonic and Semyon Bychov, Iceland Symphony Orchestra with Osmo Vänska, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra with Martin Fröst. Ólafsson will also return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the World Premiere of Bjarnason’s new piano concerto with Gustavo Dudamel.
Ólafsson will continue the international recital tour of his new Debussy Rameau recital program, wich includes performances at the Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and Dortmund, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Resonanzen Festival Saarbrücken, Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle, Tonhalle Düsselsorf, Hannover’s Sendedaal, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Brussel’s Flagey and Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw.
Always pushing boundaries, Ólafsson set up his own record label prior to signing to Deutsche Grammophon, created and presented the Icelandic television series on classical music, Útúrdúr, and is the founder of the award-winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music.