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06 MARCH 2020 (TORONTO, ON) - “This video is about quiet passion” explains Ólafsson about the new video to his new single The Arts and the Hours, which the Icelandic pianist arranged himself especially for his new album Debussy Rameau. “The music is my new transcription from Rameau’s last opera Les Boréades and the main setting is Gljúfrasteinn, the home of Iceland’s foremost author and Noble laureate Halldór Laxness (1902-1998). There is a timeless quality to the music that we felt was matched by the spirit of the gorgeous house.”


Víkingur and Magnús tell the story of how they met up for coffee between Christmas 2019 and the New Year to discuss what direction to take for The Arts and the Hours video. “We talked about how it would fit the name and concept to do something with a person that is still in her old age still perfecting his or her art/craft.” says Magnús.  “As we continued to talk about this, we started to discuss people that are obsessive collectors and go through their whole life collecting specific things, archiving them and taking care of their collection at their home. It is often really fascinating how people can be in love with random things and to see their sensitivity and delicacy that go into these collections. It’s really artful and beautiful to see how much time has been spent to collect these things and then to showcase their collections, often in a garage or in their basement. So that became the idea, that alongside the performance of Víkingur we would film these three moments that are a bit like a glimpse into the life of these collectors and their collections.”


“It is about time’s passing and art - ‘Ars longa vita brevis’” concludes Ólafsson, “and as a counterpoint to the three verses in the music we have three different characters appearing in their respective homes, surrounded by objects they are passionate about and which they have gathered over a long period of time. It is about listening to your heart.”


Víkingur Ólafsson, who is currently Artist in Residence at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, has also been announced as Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre in London from October 2020 (and continuing in the 21/22 season). His concerts at the prestigious venue will feature music ranging across four centuries, from Rameau to newly-commissioned works. More here. Debussy · Rameau is released on Deutsche Grammophon on 27 March 2020.


This album is set up as a dialogue between two of my favourite composers, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy. I see them as musical brothers, kindred spirits even though one was 180 years older than the other. They were musicians of the future, who loved to stir things up. They were two uniquely gifted keyboard composers, two progressive and fiercely original musical thinkers who could capture incredibly evocative images through sound. I want to show Rameau as a futurist and I want to emphasise Debussy’s deep roots in the French baroque – and in Rameau’s music in particular. The idea is that the listener almost forgets who is who, while listening to the album.”

 – Víkingur Ólafsson on Debussy · Rameau



“Breathtakingly brilliant pianist” – Gramophone


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. He made an unforgettable impact with the release of his two landmark albums, Philip Glass Piano Works and Johann Sebastian Bach, 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 – deeply resonated with audiences and critics around the world. It appeared in multiple “best albums of the year” lists, was named one of the greatest ever Bach recordings in Gramophone, and won the 2019 Opus Klassik Piano Recital Album of the Year award as well as 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 artist residencies at some of the world’s top concert halls.


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