April 23, 1975 |
Kern was born into a family of musicians. Her parents are both pianists, and she is related to the Russian socialite and memoirist Anna Petrovna Kern. Her great-grandmother was the mezzo-soprano Vera Pushechnikova. Kern began studying piano at age five with Professor Evgeny Timakin at the Central Music School of Moscow and gave her first concert at age seven in the same city. She won her first international competition, the Concertino Praga Competition, at age 11 in the Czech Republic. At 17, she won first prize at the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition. While in school, she received an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin in 1996.
Kern continued her studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Professor Sergei Dorensky and continued her postgraduate studies at the same school. She also studied with Professor Boris Petrushansky at the Accademia Pianistica 'Incontri col Maestro' in Imola. She adopted her mother's surname, Kern, professionally as her international career developed. From 1989 to 1994, Kern held a scholarship with the “New Names” Foundation.
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
Kern attained international prominence when she became the first woman in over thirty years to receive the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal in the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June 2001. She appears in three documentaries about the competition: Playing on the Edge (2001), They Came to Play (2008), and The Cliburn: 50 Years of Gold. An additional documentary was made about Kern following the 2001 Van Cliburn competition, titled Olga's Journey (2003).
Besides performing, Kern is an active music pedagogue, and has conducted master classes at such locations as Yale University, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and New York City's 92nd Street Y. Kern has been a jury member for several international competitions including Grand Prix Animato in Paris, France; the Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow, Scotland; Amadeus Competition in Brno, Czech Republic; and the Top of the World International Piano Competition in Tromsø, Norway. Kern was jury chairman for the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in June 2016.
Kern is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences’s Division of the Arts. She was artistic director of the Cape Town Summer Festival from 2006 to 2011 and frequently returns. In September 2017, Kern is scheduled to join the piano faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.
Olga Kern International Piano Competition
In 2016, Kern launched the Olga Kern International Piano Competition for pianists between the ages of 18 and 32. Taking place every three years in Albuquerque, New Mexico the competition's mission is to "provide the venue for young pianists to develop international careers through a competition that is recognized globally for its value and excellence." Kern serves as Artistic Director and President of the Jury.
The inaugural competition took place in Albuquerque November 13 - 20, 2016. Twenty-two contestants representing fourteen countries were chosen from submitted video auditions and judged by Kern along with eight other internationally-recognized judges. The competition gave away a total of $30,000 in prize money with the winner receiving $11,000 along with a professional recording on the Steinway & Sons Label and tours throughout Europe and the United States. Vladimir Kern conducted the finalist concert with the New Mexico Philharmonic.
Olga Kern International Piano Competition Awards
|Year||First Prize||Second Prize||Third Prize||Fourth Prize|
|2016||Chen Guang (China)||Anna Dmytrenko (Ukraine)||Anastasiya Naplekova (Ukraine)||Joshua Rupley (United States)|
In 2012, Kern established the “Aspiration” foundation with her brother, the conductor, composer, and teacher Vladimir Kern. The aim of the foundation is to provide financial and artistic assistance to developing young musicians throughout the world.
|1986||Concertino Praga International Piano Competition||1st||Prague|
|1993||Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition||1st||Moscow, Russia|
|1996||Viotti International Piano Competition||2nd||Vercelli, Italy|
|1996||Unisa International Piano Competition||4th||Pretoria, South Africa|
|1999||Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition||1st||Seregno, Italy|
|1999||Beijing International Piano Competition||3rd||Beijing, China|
|1999||Dino Ciani International Piano Competition||2nd||Milan|
|2000||Pinerolo International Piano Competition||1st||Pinerolo, Italy|
|2000||Cantù International Piano Competition||1st||Cantù, Italy|
|2000||Hamamatsu International Piano Competition||3rd||Hamamatsu, Japan|
|2001||Morocco International Piano Competition||1st||Casablanca|
|2001||Van Cliburn International Piano Competition||1st||Fort Worth, TX|
|2017||Ellis Island Medal of Honor||-||United States|
|2001||The Cliburn: Playing on the Edge||Peter Rosen Productions DVD|
|2001||Gold Medalist: 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition||Harmonia Mundi|
|2003||Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1||Harmonia Mundi|
|2005||Rachmaninoff: Piano Sonata No. 2; Balakirev: Islamey||Harmonia Mundi|
|2006||Rachmaninoff: Transcriptions; Corelli Variations (GRAMMY nominated)||Harmonia Mundi|
|2006||Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1||Harmonia Mundi|
|2007||Brahms: Variations Op. 21, 24, 35||Harmonia Mundi|
|2010||They Came to Play||Docurama Films DVD|
|2010||Chopin: Piano Sonatas 2 & 3||Harmonia Mundi|
|2011||Renée Fleming and Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg||Decca DVD|
|2012||Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata (with Sol Gabetta)||Sony Classical|
- Marianne Lipanovich (2012-04-12). "Olga Kern: Pleased Champion, Proud Mother". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Sarah Bryan Miller (2010-11-21). "Pianist Kern to make St. Louis Symphony Orchestra debut". Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
- James R Oestreich (2004-05-09). "A Pianist Who's On Her Way Up". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "What's On" (PDF). Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "The 2017 Competition Jury". Scottish International Piano Competition. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "News: Olga sits on the jury for the Amadeus Competition in Brno". Olga Kern. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "Members of the Jury". Top of the World International Piano Competition. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Lowry, Mark. "2016 Cliburn Amateur Competitors". Theater Jones. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "Hollywood Bowl: Olga Kern". Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "Olga Kern International Piano Competition Launches". Musical America. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "The Olga Kern International Piano Competition". Olga Kern International Piano Competition. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- Sullivan Isaacs, Gregory. "Cliburn winner Olga Kern launches namesake piano competition in New Mexico". Star Telegram. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- Roberts, Kathaleen. "Pianists from around globe to compete in Olga Kern competition". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Carlson, Carolyn. "We’re Dancing in the Show!". Alibi. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "Olga Kern: the first woman in the Van Cliburn Olga Kern: the first woman in the Van Cliburn". Ma Ni Magazine. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "Steinway & Sons Welcomes Olga Kern to Artists' Roster". Steinway. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- Nyffeler, Jann. "Olga Kern: RPO soloist, Van Cliburn gold medalist, mom". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 8 March 2017.