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The Cape Town Concert Series 2024 season opens with a recital by pianist Olga Kern

Now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists, Olga Kern’s career began with her historic gold-medal winning performance at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike.

She returns to the Cape Town Concert series to perform a programme of some of her most favourite works from Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and Schumann.

The concert will be an afternoon matinee starting at 5pm – and following the concert Olga will answer a few questions from the stage about the programme and her work.

This concert is held in memory of Ben Rabinowitz and we thank the Ben and Shirley Rabinowitz Foundation for their contribution to this concert.

Tickets are available at Webtickets. To book for the season of 5 concerts email info@ctconcerts.co.za

Rachmaninoff: 3 Etude Tableaux-Op.39, No.9; Op.33, No. 8; and No.5

Schumann: “Carnaval” Op.9

Gershwin: 3 Preludes and “Fascinating rhythm”


Rachmaninoff: 3 Pieces
Moment musical Op.16, No.4,
Barcarolle Op.10, No.3
“Polichinelle” Op.3, No4

Rachmaninoff 3 preludes- Op. 32, No. 5, No. 10 and No. 12

Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 2, Op. 36 (1931 edition)


With a vivid onstage presence, dazzling technique, and keen musicianship, pianist Olga Kern is widely recognized as one of the great artists of her generation, captivating audiences and critics alike. She was born into a family of musicians and began studying piano at the age of five. At seventeen, she was awarded first prize at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition, and in 2001, she launched her U.S. career, winning a historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition—the only woman in the last 50 years to do so.

A Steinway Artist, Olga is a laureate of several international competitions. In 2016 she was Jury Chairman of both Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, where she also holds the title of Artistic Director. In December 2021, Olga was Jury Chairman of the 1st Chopin Animato International Piano competition in Paris, France. In coming seasons, she will continue to serve on the juries of several high-level competitions. Olga frequently gives masterclasses and since 2017 has served on the piano faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. Also in 2017, Olga received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (New York City). In 2019, she was appointed the Connie & Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music at the Virginia Arts Festival.

Olga has performed with many prominent orchestras, including the St. Louis Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), as well as Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Pittsburgh Symphony, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, and Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. She was also a featured soloist on U.S. tours with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2018 and 2022, and during the 2017–2018 season, she served as Artist in Residence at the San Antonio Symphony. Highlights of the 2021–2022 season included performances with the Austin Symphony, Palm Beach Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Madison Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra, and Academia Teatro alla Scala. She appeared as a soloist on a U.S. tour with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and performed recitals in Savannah, Sunriver, Huntsville, Fort Worth, Carmel, and Minneapolis as well as in Portugal, Poland, and Sweden. In the 2022–2023 season, she appeared with the Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra, and Colorado Symphony. She performed recitals at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival and the International Piano Festival of Oeiras as well as in Brno and Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic; Virginia Beach; Chicago; and San Francisco. In the 2023–2024 season, she performs Rachmaninoff’s four piano concertos and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Austin Symphony and with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, appears with the Czech Philharmonic on a nation-wide telecast, and tours South Africa and Asia.

In 2012, Olga established the Kern Foundation “Aspiration,” which supports talented musicians around the world.

Olga’s discography includes a Harmonia Mundi recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman; her Grammy-nominated disc of Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations and other transcriptions; and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit. Other notable releases include Chopin’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3, and SONY’s release of the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello and Piano with Sol Gabetta. Olga released a new CD in 2022 on the Delos label of Brahms and Shostakovich quintets with the Dalí Quartet.

The Olga Kern International Piano Competition is honored and privileged to have been recently chosen to be a part of the prestigious World Federation of International Music Competitions!