Those of us who were able to sneak away last week for a lunchtime musical interlude were treated to a recital by Víkingur Ólafsson, Iceland's award-winning rising star pianist. 'The Idea of the North' was part of a season of free concerts and dance events at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
The piano virtuoso made his Toronto debut performing folk songs from his native Iceland. He also paid tribute to one of his great inspirations, legendary Toronto pianist Glenn Gould, in a performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
As a small child, Ólafsson trained his ear by listening in on his parents' music lessons at home. He learned to play piano before he learned to speak.
At just 30, the young pianist displays an immense talent. Outside the concert stage, Víkingur is the driving force behind numerous innovative musical projects – a television series, Útúrdúr (roughly translated as Out-of-tune); the Reykjavík Midsummer Music festival at the Harpa Concert Hall; and, his own record label, Dirrindí.
He is wrapping up a cross-Canada tour and his busy schedule has him hopping across the globe. Catch him if you can! In the meantime, have a listen to this sampling.
Artists from around the world share their talent and passion in six series –vocal, piano, jazz, dance, chamber and world music against an ever-changing city backdrop seen from the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company's Free Concert Series, see here.