The Madison Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to welcome Olga Kern back to Overture Hall for our October 15, 16, & 17 concerts, Ravishing Rhapsody. This will be her fifth performance with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, previously performing in 2009, 2010, 2014, and most recently in October of 2017 in From the New World. Read the reviews from Olga Kern’s 2017 appearances in Madison to discover why the MSO continues to invite Olga Kern back to Overture Hall time and time again  — plus, learn more and buy tickets for Ravishing Rhapsody, Oct. 15-17!

John Barker / The Isthmus: “Rare treats: Olga Kern shines in Barber’s Piano Concerto”

“After three prior appearances with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Russian-born, American-based pianist Olga Kern is a warmly welcomed guest soloist.”

“It benefits from careful study, and Kern is utterly involved, making the strongest possible case for it. Together she and conductor John DeMain give it propulsive strength, inspiring conviction in the wonderful MSO players.”

“Kern’s encore on Oct. 20 was a Rachmaninoff etude, reflecting the pianist’s strong identification with that composer.”

Read the review on the Isthmus’s website


Bill Wineke / Channel 3000: “Wineke: Popular pianist highlights season change in Madison”

“Kern, who grew up in Russia but now lives in New York City, was the highlight of the weekend’s Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

“But Kern seems to like Madison and Madison definitely likes Kern. She previously played with the MSO in 2009, 2010 and 2015 and filled the Overture Theater whenever she played.”

“The standing ovation began even as the last notes of the Concerto rang through the hall.”

Read the review on Channel 3000’s website


Jessica Courtier / Cap Times: “Concert review: Storybooks and myths inspire MSO’s latest offering”

“Olga Kern’s entrance was robust and assertive, while the orchestra’s first material is more lyrical, almost recalling Ravel’s world. When the piano returns it is in a tumult, notes pouring forth in bursts of sound like stars in the sky.”

“Kern’s performance is charismatic and dazzling, and tender when it ought to be.”

Read the review on the Cap Time’s website


Greg Hettmansberger / What Greg Says: “Olga Kern And DeMain Deliver Again”

“The soloist was Russian pianist Olga Kern (pictured above, credit Chris Lee), who has quickly become a local favorite (as she is in many cities around the globe).”

“This weekend she brings her substantial gifts to bear on a work that may be just a little underappreciated in America, the Piano Concerto of Samuel Barber.”

“Judging by the audience’s quick rise to its collective feet and the uproarious applause and shouts, one might have thought that Kern and DeMain had just polished off a Romantic warhorse after all. But best of all, the crowd was rewarded for their admiration with an encore true to Kern’s musical roots: a luminous reading of Rachmaninoff’s Moments Musicaux, Op. 16, No. 4.”

Read the review on the website What Greg Say


Flora Junhua Deng / The Daily Cardinal: “Olga Kern, Madison Symphony Orchestra perform the works of Barber, Rachmaninoff, Ravel at the Overture Center”

“Banging chords on the piano broke the silence in the Overture Hall, beginning the Barber Concerto Friday evening. The steel sounds Kern made on the keyboard outline her strengths as a competitive collaborator.”

“Overall, Kern interpreted American-style exaggeration with her spectacular technique as a pianist and her unique musicality as a performer.”

“The musical pulse surging in the Rachmaninoff piece demonstrated her untamed charisma as a solo pianist. Without the obligation or limitation of working with the orchestra, the rubato in her solo Rachmaninoff was even more vivid. Her unique aura was well-illustrated; Kern enjoyed more liberty when she played the role of a solo performer — not that she was bad at working with others, but that evening she proved she has mastered both roles.”

Read the review on The Daily Cardinal’s website


What Concert Attendees Had to Say…


“Olga Kern was amazing. Such a powerful performance. Our seats allow us to see her hands and the piano keyboard – wow. We have heard her before but this was top”

“Kern is phenomenal. Her musicianship is second to none. And she has wonderful stage presence.”

“Olga Kern was an absolutely dazzling virtuoso performer.”

“Always love to hear and watch Olga Kern—keep bringing her back”

“Olga Kern was amazing! We had not had the opportunity to hear her when she previously performed and we loved her talent and musicality.”

“Always love to hear and watch Olga Kern—keep bringing her back.”

“Ms. Kern’s ability to play music that absolutely transports me is an incredible experience.”

“The entire program was enjoyable; however, the soloist, Olga Kern, was especially amazing. Her mastery of the keyboard and the piece itself were fantastic. We have attended performances by many excellent pianists, and she ranks up there with the best.”

“The soloist – Olga Kern was magnificent!”

“The featured soloist was outstanding. The interaction between soloist and orchestra was excellent.”

“I always enjoy Olga Kern’s performance, energetic yet highly nuanced”

“During the Barber concerto, I felt like I was watching the soloist and orchestra musically speaking to each other. It was thrilling. Olga Kern’s playing was unbelievably wonderful.

“Ms Kern’s performance of Barber was explosive.”

“Watching Olga Kern’s virtuosity from the second row, she was simply amazing!”

“The soloist gave an encore! That rarely happens. She was so gracious and charming.”


Photos from Olga Kern’s 2017 Performances at Overture Hall