Renowned Russian-American pianist Olga Kern, 2001 winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is coming to Southern California for a series of concerts starting with Friday at SOKA Performing Arts Centre, Broad Stage in Santa Monica this Saturday, and two performances on Saturday, February 16 with the Pasadena Symphony. Recently John Van Driel had a chance to talk to Ms. Kern about her busy performing and teaching schedule.
More and more women are breaking barriers in all aspects of the music industry. J. Jill has brought together an eclectic group of artists including Anne Akiko Meyers, Olga Kern, and Patricia Price —the trailblazers, the firsts, the remarkable and revered to learn what they love about music and being on stage (or backstage or behind the lens), what inspires their day to day, and what they won’t go on tour without.
Like so many key figures of classical music history (Bach, Mozart, and the Schumanns, to name a few), music is in Olga Kern’s blood. Coming from a family of musicians and a childhood filled with music, Olga could not imagine her life any other way, and sees it remaining the same even ten years from now - with all roads leading back to the piano.
The star of the concerts was the Russian-American pianist Olga Kern, outstandingly glamorous in dazzling multi-coloured dresses – a different one for each performance. On the first day she played a selection of Rachmaninov Preludes and Scriabin Études with sensational aplomb, accuracy and virtuosity. And her large hands made mincemeat of the notorious difficulties in Balakirev’s Islamey. It is a long time since I have heard – or seen – anything like this.