Legendary Pianist Olga Kern

Performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” with Asheville Symphony.

Legendary pianist Olga Kern. Photo: Chris Lee
Legendary pianist Olga Kern. Photo: Chris Lee

Asheville Symphony has partnered with Brevard Music Center to bring legendary pianist Olga Kern to western North Carolina.

Kern will join the ASO for this season’s Masterworks series finale, “Masterworks 7: Titan,” on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 2 p.m. at Brevard Music Center’s Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium. She will also play a solo recital at Brevard Music Center on Tuesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Parker Concert Hall.

The concert will feature two monumental works of the Western repertoire: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” ASO Music Director Darko Butorac will conduct the orchestra in a concert that promises to be an unforgettable experience for music lovers.

Butorac says he is thrilled to share the stage with Kern. “We will be performing with a truly world-class, renowned pianist. Olga Kern is a living legend, and one of her famous interpretations is that of the Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1. It is a timeless classic—audiences will immediately recognize the stunning opening—and I feel so grateful we are able to share the stage with such an important musician.”

With a vivid onstage presence, dazzling technique, and keen musicianship, Olga Kern is widely recognized as one of the great artists of her generation, captivating audiences and critics alike. She was born into a family of musicians and began studying piano at the age of five. At seventeen, she was awarded first prize at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition, and in 2001, she launched her US career, winning a historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition—the only woman in the last 50 years to do so.

Asheville Symphony Executive Director Daniel Crupi noted the importance of partnering with Brevard Music Center to bring Kern to Western North Carolina. “By collaborating with our friends at Brevard Music Center, we have the opportunity to bring some truly extraordinary talent to Western North Carolina. Both organizations are pillars of musical excellence in our region, so it makes complete sense to join forces in crafting unique and outstanding artistic experiences in our communities.”

“Masterworks 7: Titan” also marks the first time that Darko Butorac will be presenting a Mahler symphony in his role as Music Director for the Asheville Symphony, a massive undertaking for any conductor.

“To hear a Mahler symphony is very special and somewhat rare,” said Butorac. “Mahler consistently pushes the limit of expression, often by composing for massive forces—this symphony features an enormous wind and brass section: double the usual size. One can literally feel the sound, so thundering are the climaxes in his work! This is why we are performing at Brevard, for there is no stage large enough in Asheville to accommodate such a grand orchestra.”

Tickets to “Masterworks 7: Titan” are available now and can be purchased online at www.AshevilleSymphony.org or by contacting the Asheville Symphony Box Office at (828) 254-7046.


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