"An absolute whiz at the piano"
"Call it star quality - music likes Kern, the way the camera liked Garbo"
Russian-American pianist Olga Kern has established herself as one of the leading pianists of her generations. Born in Moscow in a family of musicians, she jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal win at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than thirty years.
First prize winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at seventeen, Ms. Kern is a laureate of many international competitions. In 2016 she served as Jury Chairman of both the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, where she also holds the title of Artistic Director. Ms. Kern frequently gives masterclasses and since September 2017 has served on the piano faculty of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Beginning with the 2019 season, Ms. Kern was appointed the Connie & Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music at the Virginia Arts Festival. Ms. Kern was honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York City in 2017.
Recent and upcoming highlights include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Colorado and Toledo, the New Mexico Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Washington DC, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Orquesta de Sao Paulo, and the New West Symphony. In 2017-2018, she served as Artist in Residence with the San Antonio Symphony and made her debut with the National Youth Orchestra on their China tour. Ms. Kern has toured extensively in the United States with many international orchestras such as the Royal National Scottish Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and many others. In 2019 she helped celebrate Leonard Slatkin’s 75th Birthday in a series of special concerts with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. She will appear in recitals in Orford, Sunriver, Fort Worth (Cliburn), Carmel, San Francisco, Sicily, and Calvia. In spring of 2020 Olga Kern has hosted her Second Olga Kern International Piano Competition. In the coming seasons, she will serve on the jury of many international competitions.
Ms. Kern's discography includes her Grammy Nominated recording of Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations and other transcriptions (2004), Brahms Variations (2007) and Chopin Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 3 (2010), the Tchaikovsky piano concerto with the Rochester Philharmonic, a CD of Russian composers including works by Balakirev, the Chopin concerto with the Warsaw Philharmonic and a CD of the Rachmaninoff cello sonatas with Sol Gabetta. She was featured in several documentaries including the award-winning films about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge; “They came to play” and “Olga’s journey”.