- Thursday, June 28, 2007, 7 p.m.
- Strings Music Festival, 900 Strings Road, (Corner of Mt. Werner Rd & Pine Grove Rd), Steamboat Springs
Four years after wowing Steamboat Springs audience members, classical pianist Olga Kern is back for an encore performance. Kern plays a concert Thursday at Strings in the Mountains Music Festival Park.
"She's excited to come back," Strings in the Mountains Executive Director Betse Grassby said.
Kern began playing the piano at age five, and at 17, she won the Rachmanioff International Piano Competition in Russia. Her playing is described as almost visual in its intensity.
"She's a brilliant, passionate, fiery performer - and really just a treat to watch," Grassby said.
Kern was the first woman in 30 years to win the gold medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where the world's most prestigious classical pianists compete every four years. Strings in the Mountains officials have attended the competition regularly since 1997.
"It's one of the foremost piano competitions in the world," Grassby said. "All participants are incredible pianists in their own right, but being a medalist really helps their career."
After her success at the 2001 competition, Kern toured the world and performed with some of the most impressive international symphonies, including the Moscow Chamber and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
"She's developed an amazing career - she's an exceptional pianist," Grassby said.
Kern played a sold-out concert at Strings in the Mountains in 2003. This year, Kern was asked to return to play as a featured artist during the 20th anniversary celebration of Strings in the Mountains.
"We're excited to have her back," Grassby said. "It's fun to see artists evolve as they return again to Strings."
Each year, Strings invites one Van Cliburn winner to the Yampa Valley. In addition to Kern, 1997 gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu will perform in the Chamber series later this summer.
"Once an artist performs here, they fall in love with Strings and the intimate atmosphere they play for," Grassby said.
Kern will make a solo appearance at 7 p.m. Thursday at Strings in the Mountains Music Festival Park. Tickets are $30.