The Schubert Club welcomes back the remarkable pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, following his unforgettable debut as the 2021-2022 Schubert Club Featured Artist. Víkingur is a captivating communicator, both onstage and off, and his incisive musicianship and visionary programs connect deeply with audiences. The New York Times dubbed him “Iceland’s Glenn Gould”, while The Daily Telegraph called him “The new superstar of classical piano”. His recordings have found many fans, with his album streams now surpassing an astounding 260 million listeners, in music from J.S. Bach to Philip Glass.
J.S. Bach’s remarkable Goldberg Variations is the single work on this program – 30 ingenious variations on an original theme that is considered a summation of the finest writing for keyboard in the baroque era. It is a work which requires both great imagination and a dexterous technique, qualities that define Ólafsson. Bach’s Variations carry the name of its likely first performer, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, a virtuoso harpsichordist, organist, and composer of the late Baroque period.
“Composed for connoisseurs, for the refreshment of their spirits, by Johann Sebastian Bach, composer for the royal court of Poland and the Electoral court of Saxony, Kapellmeister and Director of Choral Music in Leipzig.”
~From the Title Page of the Goldberg Variations first printing
Fun Fact: Ólafsson has both absolute pitch and Synesthesia, whereby he associates keys with colors. For example, he reportedly associates F minor with blue, A major with yellow, and B major with purple.
For a quick introduction to Víkingur, check out his NPR Tiny Desk Concert: