Víkingur Wins Top BBC Music Prize

Pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson.

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson snagged the top prize at this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards, winning Recording of the Year for his album Johann Sebastian Bach. The album was also awarded Instrumental Recording of the Year at the prestigious awards.

“Víkingur Ólafsson’s beautifully crafted Bach programme is a balm for the ears,” wrote the awards jury. “His mix of original keyboard works and arrangements by a host of pianist-composers is played with such joy – his articulation is pin-sharp, his dynamic and tonal control constant delights. If ever there was an album to demonstrate Bach’s timelessness, this is it.”

“I am very touched to win this important award and to know that people enjoy listening to it,” says Ólafsson. “Playing and recording Bach is in many ways the most personal thing one can do in music, and I am very grateful for the incredibly kind and generous reactions.”

The album, Víkingur’s second with Deutsche Grammophon, has received accolades since its release in September 2018. Last December, Víkingur’s interpretation of Bach’s Fugue in A minor was named one of the top 25 classical music tracks of the year by the New York Times.

Víkingur Ólafsson Nominated for BBC Music Magazine Award

Pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson.

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson has been nominated for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. RÚV reported first.

Víkingur’s album Johann Sebastian Bach has been nominated in the instrumental music category of the awards. The album has enjoyed a warm reception since its release last year, charting on NPR’s list of the top 50 albums of 2018, where Víkigur’s interpretations were praised as “personal, poetic, and precise.” One track on the recording made it on the New York Times’ list of Top 25 Classical Music Tracks of 2018, where Joshua Barone hailed Víkingur as “a master of finding and exploiting unexpected pockets of musicality.”

The BBC Music Magazine Awards nominees are selected from among some 200 albums that the magazine has awarded five stars over the preceding 12 months. The winners are decided by public vote, which is open to all until February 19.