Víkingur Ólafsson to Perform World Premiere of Piano Concerto

Postponed due to the pandemic, the Icelandic pianist will finally be able to perform Finnish composer Sauli Zinovjev’s first piano concerto this week

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Víkingur Ólafsson (Photo credit: Ari Magg)

 

Written in 2019 for Ólafsson, Sauli Zinovjev’s Piano Concerto was initially to premiere in April 2020 alongside the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) and conductor Klaus Mäkelä.

Due to COVID-19 measures, instead of a live audience at the Helsinki Music Center, the long-awaited piano concerto along with Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 will be available from January 7, 2022, on Finnish streaming service Yle Areena.

 

 

Víkingur Ólafsson and Zinovjev began talking about the piece in 2017 and Ólafsson looked forward to this performance more every year after its cancellations.

“I think I care more and more for the piece because of how long we’ve had to wait, and it has built up this anticipation in me to go onstage and play it,” Ólafsson reflected in an interview. “I feel like this piece is still being born even if it was written such a long time ago.”

“It’s a poem, this piece, it’s not the kind of old school concerto you might expect,” Ólafsson continued. “The first and second movements are both extremely dark and introspective and they are very much sometimes like a monolog, a monolog supported by all these incredible orchestral colors.” 

For more information and to watch the concert, click here.

An interview with Ólafsson about his upcoming world premiere performance can be watched below. 

 

 

In 2019, Ólafsson won Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year, the Opus Klassik Solo Recording Instrumental twice, and BBC Music Magazine Awards’ Album of the Year. In addition, he has recorded several albums with the Deutsche Grammophon label. 

A graduate of the Sibelius Academy and Hochschule fur Musik Karlsruhe, composer Zinovjev studied with Tapio Nevanlinna and Wolfgang Rihm. In 2021, he received an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with HarrisonParrot’s Birdsong Music Publishing.