Featuring a selection of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes, Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson's debut Deutsche Grammophon album will be released in time to mark the composer's 80th birthday. Ólafsson has commissioned and premiered, to date, five new piano concertos from different young composers, and has collaborated on diverse musical projects with a broad range of artists and musicians. These include conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy and Rafael Payare, as well as his compatriot Björk and composers Mark Simpson and Philip Glass.
The latter is the sole focus of Ólafsson's latest recording project. The pianist's fascination with reinterpreting the Piano Etudes grew as he toured and performed the works with Glass himself. "On the surface, they seem to be filled with repetitions. But the more one plays and thinks about them, the more their narratives seem to travel along in a spiral," he explains. "My approach to each of the etudes is to enable the listener to create his or her own personal space of reflection." Philip Glass: Piano Works was recorded at Reykjavík's iconic Harpa concert hall.
"Víkingur is already very well-known in his native Iceland, where he's been named ‘Musician of the Year' four times. He brings a new Nordic sensibility to the classical repertoire..." notes Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon.