Rach 3 & Boléro
Carl St.Clair, conductor
Olga Kern, piano
Meredith Crawford, viola
Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Door open at 6:45 p.m.
An opening night celebration that immerses you in the virtuosity of the solo musician, both on the piano and in the orchestra. The brilliant Olga Kern returns to Orange County with the “Mount Everest” of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. And be amazed by the artistry of solo Pacific Symphony musicians as they sweep you away with music from Mozart and Ravel.
Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation's great artists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of 5. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than 30 years.
Steinway Artist and First Prize Winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at the age of 17, Kern is a laureate of many international competitions and tours throughout Russia, Europe, The United States, Japan, South Africa and South Korea. The first Olga Kern International Piano Competition is announced to take place in Albuquerque, N.M. in autumn, 2016, where Kern will serve as artistic director and jury chair. Kern is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Division of the Arts, as well as jury chairman of the 17th Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in June 2016.
In the 2016-17 season, Kern will premiere her first American concerto, the Barber Piano Concerto, with the Saint Louis Symphony and Leonard Slatkin. In addition to opening Pacific Symphony's classical season, she will also appear with the Colorado Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and Copenhagen Philharmonic. Recital appearances include the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Virginia Arts Festival, Milan and Glasgow. Kern opened the Baltimore Symphony’s 2015-16 centennial season with Marin Alsop.
Kern’s discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (2003), her Grammy-nominated recording of Rachmaninoff’s 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). Most recently, SONY released their recording of Kern performing the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta. She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge, as well as Olga’s Journey, Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg and in They Came to Play.
In 2012, Kern and her brother, conductor and composer, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the “Aspiration” foundation whose objective is to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.
Violist Meredith Crawford, a Maine native, studied under the tutelage of Professor Peter Slowik at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She graduated in 2009 after completing Oberlin’s double-degree program with both a B.M. in Viola Performance and a B.A. in English Literature. After being inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society, she received the prestigious Prize for Musicianship, awarded to students judged to be “the most outstanding of those elected to Pi Kappa Lambda.” Crawford was the first-prize winner of the Ohio Viola Society’s annual competition in 2007, the 2009 Skokie Valley Symphony Annual Young Artist Competition and the 2009-10 Oberlin Conservatory Competition—the first win for a violist in over a decade.
At the age of 22—before the completion of her senior year at Oberlin Conservatory—she won her first orchestral audition and a seat with Pacific Symphony. In September 2012, she was awarded the position of assistant principal viola and five years later, she won her current position with the orchestra as principal viola, Catherine and James Emmi Chair. Additionally, she has been performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic since April 2010, and more recently with the Riverside Philharmonic (as principal viola), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Irvine’s Mozart Classical Orchestra. Crawford is also an active chamber musician, performing frequently with the L.A.-based Salastina Music Society, the Historic Portsmouth Chamber Music Series in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the High Desert Chamber Music series in Bend, Ore. Crawford is also on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, where she is assistant principal viola of the faculty orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. She currently resides in beautiful Belmont Shore (where her neighbors include Pacific Symphony’s principal flutist Benjamin Smolen and principal oboist Jessica Pearlman) with her two cats, Twinkie and Rahula.