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Olga Kern

About this Artist

Now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists, OLGA KERN’s career began one decade ago with her award winning gold-medal performance at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001. Her second catapulting triumph came in New York City on May 4, 2004, with a highly acclaimed New York City recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. In an unprecedented turn of events, Olga gave a second recital eight days later in Isaac Stern Auditorium at the invitation of Carnegie Hall.

With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking young Russian pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. In the 2011-2012 season Olga debuts with the Baltimore Symphony and the Sacramento Philharmonic, and will return to the Houston, Saint Louis, Colorado and Phoenix Symphonies and National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. In winter of 2012 Olga will make an extensive recital tour of North America with the world renowned violinist Vladimir Spivakov, their first chamber music collaboration outside of Europe.

In April 2011, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and The Van Cliburn Foundation undertook a special co-presentation of Olga Kern in celebration of her tremendous success of the last ten years. Her 2010-2011 season included opening week with the Colorado Symphony and closing week with the Detroit Symphony, as well as subscription weeks with Nashville, St. Louis and Pittsburgh Symphonies. Also, recitals at Longwood Gardens, Sanibel and Winter Park Music Festivals, Drake University and her debut at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. At Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall she performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 for the composer’s 200th Anniversary Celebration.

Summer 2011 appearances include her debut at Aspen Music Festival (Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.1), her long awaited return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini), and recitals with La Jolla Music Society and Bear Valley Music Festival.

Recent seasons have seen her debuts with the New Jersey Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, a special event concert with famed soprano Kathleen Battle at Carnegie Hall, repeat engagements with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival and several recitals and master classes with the International Keyboard Institute in New York City.

Orchestra tours of North America have included a 35 city tour in 2007 with the National Philharmonic of Russia and Vladimir Spivakov, as well as in 2008 with Maestro Spivakov and the world renowned Moscow Virtuosi, presenting concerts in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington DC and Toronto.

Recent European appearances and debuts have included a tour of Austria and Switzerland with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Maestro Antoni Wit, a tour of Germany with the Czech Philharmonic and Maestro Zdenek Maçal, performances with the orchestras of Copenhagen and Lyon, and recitals in Milan, Hamburg and Luxembourg. She made her London debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 followed by her Proms debut in 2008. Ms. Kern made her South American debut with the Orquestra de São Paulo in 2008, as well as her debut with the Seoul Philharmonic.

Miss Kern’s festival appearances include the Inaugural Concert of the Southeastern Piano Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. She is welcomed back frequently to the Interlochen Festival, Bravo! Vail Festival, and the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico in 2007, where she performed to a sold out venue. She has been a recent guest artist at several international music festivals, including the Klavier Ruhr and Kissinger Sommer festivals in Germany, the Radio-France Montpellier and Casadesus festivals in France, the Ohrid Festival in Macedonia, and the Busoni Festival in Italy.

In June of 2002 Olga Kern made an extensive tour of South Africa where she returned to tour again in February of 2005, performing all four Rachmaninoff piano concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, with her brother, Vladimir Kern, conducting. She is now Artistic Director of the Cape Town Festival in South Africa and returns there annually.

Ms. Kern has performed in many of the world's most important venues, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Châtelet in Paris; she has appeared as soloist with the Bolshoi Theater, the Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Russian National, China Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Torino Symphony, and Cape Town Symphony Orchestras. She has also performed with the Kirov Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev at the Kennedy Center.

Ms. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. Winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition when she was seventeen, she is a laureate of eleven international competitions and has toured throughout her native Russia, Europe, and the United States, as well as in Japan, South Africa, and South Korea. The recipient of an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia in 1996, she is a member of Russia’s International Academy of Arts. She began her formal training with acclaimed teacher Evgeny Timakin at the Moscow Central School and continued with Professor Sergei Dorensky at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she was also a postgraduate student. She also studied with Boris Petrushansky at the acclaimed Accademia Pianistica Incontri col Maestro in Imola, Italy.

Ms. Kern records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi. Her discography includes recordings of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (2003), a Rachmaninoff recording of Corelli Variations and other transcriptions (2004), a recital disk with works by Rachmaninoff and Balakirev (2005), Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit (2006), Brahms Variations (2007) and a 2010 release of Chopin Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 3 (2010). She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge.