Nordic man of the year

Nordic man of the year


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2023

You didn’t know there was such a thing?

Read on:

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, continued: “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.’


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Congratulations, Viking! What I would like to see in the next decade, is someone like Viking commissioning new piano concertos by a new generation of Nordic composers. He can do it. It does take tremendous time, networking and fund raising, but he would be perfect!

  • Mock Mahler says:

    We Nordics are a modest lot, but we appreciate a pat on the back from time to time.

    Since SD wants to reinstate gender distinctions here, I nominate a Nordic woman of the year: Lise Davidson.

  • nun says:

    ‘International Nordic Person of the Year’

    -How is it ‘international’ if it’s just ‘Nordic’?

    -Is it ‘Nordic’ by genetics regardless of nationality, or by nationality regardless of genetics, or by both genetics and nationality?

    -Who counts as a ‘person’, only those alive, no posthumous awards like the very Nordic Nobel Prizes? Indeed, is this the Nobel Prize for Nordic Persons?

    -Why is the person of ‘the year’ picked in January and not in December? So all the other Nordics in the world should just stop trying to be great for the rest of the year?

  • Serge says:

    “Iceland might be the country with the smallest population in the Nordic region”,

    It may not; that would be Faroe Islands. But never mind. Congrats to the Olafson!

  • Pete Krems says:

    It helps when you’re the coddled son of the elites in a country of ten people

  • Mr. Ron says:

    Note: not “man” of the year.

    “…Víkingur Ólafsson has received the 2023 ‘International Nordic Person of the Year….”

  • Sarcasmus says:

    Good that this goes to an artists that performs music by others, not to a doctor or somebody that does something lame like helping the community.

  • GUEST says:

    Lots of surly commenters here on SD. Lighten up, folks.