Recipients of the Rolf Schock Prize 2022 honoured in a prize-giving ceremony in Stockholm

Víkingur Ólafsson receives this year’s Rolf Schock Prize in the Musical Arts

The four recipients of the Rolf Schock Prize 2022 were honoured yesterday in a prize-giving ceremony in Stockholm’s auditorium of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. 

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson receives the 2022 Rolf Schock Prize in Musical Arts “for his pioneering and successful work in developing and strengthening classical music,” commented the Schock Foundation.  “Ólafsson is one of the most creative and innovative musicians of our time. With each piece of music, he creates a new world, conveying both depth and brilliance, leaving a unique impression on the listener.” 

The Rolf Schock Prizes are awarded every other year and span areas as varied as science, the visual arts and music. Ólafsson’s fellow laureates for 2022 are: philosopher David Kaplan (Logic and Philosophy), mathematician Jonathan Pila (Mathematics) and architect Rem Koolhaas (Visual Arts). Previous recipients of the Schock Prize for Musical Arts include György Kurtág, Kaija Saariaho, Finland and György Ligeti. Ólafsson’s prize was received in person by his wife, Halla Oddny Magnúsdóttir.

Víkingur Ólafsson comments: Being awarded the Rolf Schock prize in the Musical Arts 2022 is a particular honour and delight – for many reasons. There is the story of the prize’s enigmatic founder, Rolf Schock himself: a true renaissance man and a rebel of sorts, who appears to have possessed an intellectual freedom of wondrous proportions – and there is this rare, inspiring and exhilarating opportunity of being recognised not just in a sequence of great musicians whom I admire very much, but also alongside great minds from the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics and architecture. 
I am grateful for this inspiration and opportunity for wonder – to escape my own area of expertise in order to marvel at that of my distinguished fellow laureates. It is also exhilarating to join the succession of wonderful musicians who received it before me. It is a curious coincidence that I have spent the past year revelling in the music of the 2020 Rolf Schock music prize winner, György Kurtág – another man whose ideas appear to work at the intersection of poetry, music and some primordial, proto-logical gesture.”

Hans Ellegren, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and chair of the Schock Foundation, comments:

The Schock Prizes are unusual because they recognise people who work in the sciences, as well as practitioners of the visual arts and music. People such as Rolf Schock are fascinating, individuals who have the breadth and ability to see the interrelationships between such apparently different areas. We are very proud of this year’s laureates, who have been proposed by the three different academies.”

Upon his death in 1986 at age 53, Rolf Schock left a significant fortune and, in his will, he donated a large sum of money to allow a prize to be awarded in his name. His wish was that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to propose laureates in logics and philosophy, as well as in mathematics, that the Royal Academy of Fine Arts would propose laureates in one of the visual arts and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in one of the musical arts. His fortune is managed by the Schock Foundation, which formally decides the laureates.

Read more about Rolf Schock and the prize

Previous recipients of the Rolf Schock prize in the Musical Arts:
György Kurtág, Hungary (2020)

Barbara Hannigan, Canada (2018) 
Wayne Shorter, USA (2017)

Herbert Blomstedt, Sweden (2014)

Andrew Manze, England (2011)
Gidon Kremer, Latvia (2008)

Mauricio Kagel, Argentine/Germany (2005)

Anne Sofie von Otter, Sweden (2003)

Kaija Saariaho, Finland (2001)

The Kronos Quartet, USA (1999)

Jorma Panula, Finland (1997)

György Ligeti, Austria/Hungary (1995)
Ingvar Lidholm, Sweden (1993)

About Víkingur Ólafsson

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has made a profound impact with his remarkable combination of highest level musicianship and visionary programmes. His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon – Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018), Debussy Rameau (2020) and Mozart & Contemporaries (2021) – captured the public and critical imagination and have led to career streams of over 400 million. His latest album, From Afar, is released in October 2022.
Now one of the most sought-after artists of today, Ólafsson’s multiple awards include the Rolf Schock Prize for music (2022), Gramophone magazine Artist of the Year, Opus Klassik Solo Recording Instrumental (twice) and Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. Ólafsson continues to perform as artist in residence at the world’s top orchestras, concert halls and festivals, and work with today’s greatest composers. In the 2022/23 season he performs with orchestras including Philharmonia Orchestra, Concertgebouworkest, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, The Cleveland Orchestra, London and Bergen philharmonic orchestras, Toronto and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
A captivating communicator both on and off stage, Ólafsson’s significant talent extends to broadcast, having presented several of his own series for television and radio. He was Artist in Residence for three months on BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme, Front Row – broadcasting live during lockdown from an empty Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík, he reached millions of listeners around the world.

RELEASED TODAY, October 7: Víkingur Ólafsson records “From Afar” for Deutsche Grammophon.