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Olga Kern
Plays Rachmaninoff

Ravishing Rhapsody

Update, 6/25/2020: Overture has suspended all performances through November 30. Due to Overture Center’s decision, and requirements of the FORWARD DANE Phased Reopening Plan for Dane County, the Madison Symphony Orchestra has reluctantly canceled this concert. While alternative programming opportunities are considered, the MSO will issue refunds to subscribers for the value of their tickets to this performance. Direct communication to each ticketholder will be sent by the MSO. Read our press release for more information.

Answers to other questions about subscriptions, renewals, seating, and plans for responding to Overture Center and health guidelines for our upcoming season, can be found on our 20/21 FAQ page. You can also read more about how we’re responding to current events by visiting our Summer 2020 Q&A and Current Schedule pages.

Fri., Oct. 16, 2020
7:30 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 17, 2020
8:00 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 18, 2020
2:30 p.m.

Music Program:
Ravel, Alborada del gracioso
Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, “Eroica”

John DeMain
, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Read the Program Notes
Program Notes will be available in August.

Prelude Discussion
Enjoy a 30-minute talk starting one hour before each concert in Overture Hall. Free to ticketholders.

Anticipate another mesmerizing performance from one of the greatest exponents of Russia’s greatest music. The Rachmaninoff Rhapsody may be the most-listened-to piano favorite of all time, while Beethoven’s “Eroica” (Heroic) is an important landmark in the transition between the Classical period and the Romantic era. 

The tune that grew up. When he was in his twenties, Beethoven wrote a set of 12 contradanses. The seventh of them was a little tune in E-flat that Beethoven turned into something increasingly monumental. In 1801 he used it as the basis for the finale of his ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. A year later, he used it as the theme for his massive Eroica Variations. And a year after that, he expanded it into the ten variations that conclude his landmark Eroica Symphony.
– Norman Gilliland

About Olga Kern

Russian-American pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation’s great artists. Born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, she began studying piano at the age of five, and jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, TX as the first woman to do so in more than 30 years. In 2016 she served as Jury Chairman of both the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano competition, which she also holds the title of Artistic Director. Ms. Kern frequently gives master classes and since September 2017 has served on the piano faculty of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. She has performed in famed concert halls throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and the Chatelet in Paris. She has previously appeared with the Madison Symphony Orchestra four times in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2017.

Kern’s performance is charismatic and dazzling, and tender when it ought to be. – Jessica Courtier, The Cap Times


Presenting Sponsor

Steinhauer Charitable Trust


Major funding provided by


Myrna Larson


Carla and Fernando Alvarado

Nancy Mohs

Cyrena and Lee Pondrom

Peggy and Tom Pyle


Kay Schwichtenberg and Herman Baumann

Additional funding provided by


James and Joan Johnston


Ann Lindsey and Charles Snowdon

with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts


October 16
October 18
Event Category:


Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703 United States