Hawaii Symphony Orchestra performs weekend of Russian masterworks

Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev & Rachmaninoff in all-Russian program
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra (HSO) concludes its 2015-2016 season with a glorious weekend of Russian masterworks on Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 12 at 4 p.m. Titled "From Russia With Love," the season finale begins with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and is followed by Tchaikovsky's final composition, the Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major featuring pianist Olga Kern – Gold Medal winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Led by Maestro Victor Yampolsky, "From Russia With Love" also features Kern in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, the work that sealed Prokofiev's reputation as a composer. The concert program concludes with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances op. 45, a symphonic work that celebrates a lush orchestral palette.

With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the Russian-born, American pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff (her great-grandmother, a mezzo-soprano, once had Rachmaninoff step in at the last minute as her accompanist), Kern began studying piano at age five. She jump-started her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas – the first woman to win in more than 30 years.

Kern's performance career has brought her to many of the world's most important venues, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Châtelet in Paris. She has appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the Bolshoi Theater, the Moscow Philharmonic, London Symphony, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, Russian National, China National Symphony, Stuttgart State Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Torino Symphony, and Cape Town Symphony Orchestras. Kern has also collaborated with the most prominent conductors in the world today, including Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon, Marin Alsop, Valery Gergiev, Pinchas Zukerman, Christoph Eschenbach, Antoni Wit, Manfred Honeck, Constantine Orbelian, Gian-Carlo Guerrero and Vladimir Spivakov.

Recent international appearances included tours of Austria, Italy and Switzerland with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Maestro Antoni Wit, a tour of Germany with the Czech Philharmonic and Maestro Zdenek Maçal, performances with the orchestras of Academy of La Scala in Bad Kissingen, Copenhagen and Lyon, and recitals in Milan, Paris, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Reykjavik, Bucharest and Zagreb. In addition to performing, Kern devotes her time to the support and education of developing musicians. 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. Kern lives in New York City with her son, Vladislav Kern, who studies piano in the Juilliard School's pre-college program.

Yampolsky studied violin with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory, and conducting with Maestro Nicolai Rabinovich at the Leningrad Conservatory. He was a member of the Moscow Philharmonic as both assistant concertmaster and assistant conductor, under the direction of Maestro Kyrill Kondrashin. He emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1973, where a recommendation from conductor Zubin Mehta led to an audition for Leonard Bernstein, who offered Yampolsky a scholarship at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts. Yampolsky soon accepted a position in the violin section of the Boston Symphony and was later appointed the orchestra's principal second violinist.

He has served as conductor of the Young Artists Orchestra at Tanglewood and principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra in Johannesburg, South Africa. A dedicated educator, Yampolsky has given conducting masterclasses throughout the world. He has served as adjunct professor of violin and director of orchestras at the Boston University School of Music. He has taught at the State Conservatory of St. Petersburg Russia; Stellenbosch Conservatory in South Africa; the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in Cape Town, South Africa; Emory University; and the Universities of Akron, Victoria, and Nevada.

Tickets: Tickets range from $34 to $92 and are available at the Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra Box Office by calling (808) 94-MUSIC – (808) 946-8742 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. HSO advance sales end at noon on Thursday, June 9, but are available through the Blaisdell Box Office until concert time.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra.org. Share your Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra experience with the #HiSymphony hashtag on Twitter and Instagram @HawaiiSymphonyOrchestra

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