Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has received the 2023 International Nordic Person of the Year Award from CoScan, the Confederation of Scandinavian Societies in the UK.


The award recognises Ólafsson as 'an extraordinary advocate for music across the generations', and was presented by the Ambassador of Iceland, His Excellency Sturla Sigurjónsson, and Alexander Malmaeus, Chairman of CoScan, during a concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 28 January 2023, after Ólafsson performed the Schumann Piano Concerto with London Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner.

Chairman of CoScan, Alexander Malmaeus, said: 'Iceland might be the country with the smallest population in the Nordic region, but it is bursting with musical talent from which we are all greatly enriched. Víkingur reaches new audiences with diverse musical tastes, and he has an incredible ability to make us listen freshly and gain something new from his every performance. We are thrilled that he has accepted the award.’

Víkingur Ólafsson commented: “Thank you so much to CoScan for this award…. which I consider my love letter to the UK. The north is a state of mind above everything else, and so if I have brought Nordic culture to the UK and Ireland, then something has been achieved.'

Previous recipients of CoScan’s International Person of the Year Award include football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, conductor Sakari Oramo, Finnish racing driver Mika Häkkinen, and presenter Sandi Toksvig.


Víkingur Ólafsson has twice won Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon – Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018), Debussy Rameau (2020) and Mozart & Contemporaries (2021) – have captured the public and critical imagination and led to career streams of over 400 million. Ólafsson’s latest album, From Afar, was released in October 2022.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.