August 01 - August 04, 2024

Olga Kern, Nina Kotova and Viktoria Mullova, Violin

August 01, 7.30pm: Green Music Center, Weill Hall

Olga Kern

With a vivid onstage presence, dazzling technique, and keen musicianship, pianist 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 U.S. career, winning a historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition—the only woman in the last 50 years to do so.

A Steinway Artist, Olga is a laureate of several international competitions. In 2016 she was Jury Chairman of both Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition and the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, where she also holds the title of Artistic Director. In December 2021, Olga was Jury Chairman of the 1st Chopin Animato International Piano competition in Paris, France. In coming seasons, she will continue to serve on the juries of several high-level competitions. Olga frequently gives masterclasses and since 2017 has served on the piano faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. Also in 2017, Olga received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (New York City). In 2019, she was appointed the Connie & Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music at the Virginia Arts Festival.

Olga’s discography includes a Harmonia Mundi recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman; her Grammy-nominated disc of Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations and other transcriptions; and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit. Other notable releases include Chopin’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3, and SONY’s release of the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello and Piano with Sol Gabetta. Olga released a new CD in 2022 on the Delos label of Brahms and Shostakovich quintets with the Dalí Quartet.

Nina Kotova

Cellist Nina Kotova has been praised by Gramophone as a “strong and individual artist” and by the Los Angeles Times as “a talent to reckon with- poised, committed, graceful and spirited.” Ms. Kotova is internationally recognized as one of the outstanding instrumentalists of her generation and has performed in recital and as a soloist with symphony orchestras across the globe throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.

According to Newsweek magazine, “she‘s a fantastically gifted cellist.. and has a powerful stage presence.” Time magazine states: “She is a musician of high seriousness and real talent”. Ms. Kotova has also been the subject of numerous features in Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and the Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Hello magazine and has appeared on television on A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts”, “Hard Talk” and the “Charlie Rose Show”. Ms. Kotova has featured on the covers of Classic FM, Gramophone China, Il Venerdi Italia and Reader’s Digest.

Nina Kotova has appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York,  in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, at Ravinia, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, the Esplanade in Singapore, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Berlin Philharmonic, to name a few.

Among Ms. Kotova’s honors is the Tuscan – American Association award for her outstanding cultural contributions to Italy as co-founder of the Tuscan Sun Festival. Ms. Kotova also co-founded the Festival Del Sole/Festival Napa Valley in Napa Valley.  She calls the Festivals “a mecca and meeting place for artists and admirers of the arts alike”.

Nina Kotova’s recordings include her chart-topping debut album for Philips Classics, the Bloch “Shelomo” alongside her own Cello Concerto conducted by Constantine Orbelian for Delos, the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton for Sony Classics, the Deutsche Grammophon compilation “Masters of the Bow”, which pays homage to the greatest cellists of the last 50 years, the Tchaikovsky Album with conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, and three albums for Warner Classics including the complete Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, the Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev Cello Sonatas with pianist Fabio Bidini, and the Romantic Recital Album with pianist Jose Feghali. Ms. Kotova’s newest album “Solo Cello” was released by Delos in 2023.

Most recently,  Ms. Kotova co-founded and serves as the Artistic Director of Domus Artium,  a series of concerts featuring the greatest classical musicians in historically significant palazzi and locations in Rome, Italy.

Viktoria Mullova

Viktoria Mullova studied at the Central Music School of Moscow and the Moscow Conservatoire. Her extraordinary talent captured international attention when she won first prize at the 1980 Sibelius Competition in Helsinki and the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982 which was followed, in 1983, by her dramatic and much publicized defection to the West. She has since appeared with most of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors and at the major international festivals. She is now known the world over as a violinist of exceptional versatility and musical integrity. Her curiosity spans the breadth of musical development from baroque and classical right up to the most contemporary influences from the world of fusion and experimental music.

Her interest in the authentic approach has led to collaborations with period instrument bands such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Il Giardino Armonico, Venice Baroque and Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique. Viktoria has a great affinity with Bach and his work makes up a large part of her recording catalogue. Her interpretations of Bach have been acclaimed worldwide and led Tim Ashley to write, “To hear Mullova play Bach is, simply, one of the greatest things you can experience…” in the Guardian. Her disc of Bach Concerti with the Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone was highly praised and her recording of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas represents a significant milestone in Viktoria’s personal journey into this music. The recording received 5-star reviews from all over the world and she has embarked on an international several season-long, series of solo Bach recitals.
Mullova’s extensive discography has attracted many prestigious awards. 

Her recording of the Vivaldi Concertos with Il Giardino Armonico and directed by Giovanni Antonini, won the Diapason D’Or of the Year award for 2005 and her recording featuring Beethoven’s Op.12, No.3 and Kreutzer Sonatas with Kristian Bezuidenhout won immense critical acclaim. Other discs have included the Schubert Octet with the Mullova Ensemble, “Recital” with Katia Labèque, Bach Sonatas with Ottavio Dantone,“6 Solo Sonatas and Partitas” by JS Bach and the complete works for violin & orchestra by Arvo Pärt with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Paavo Järvi. Recent releases include “Music We Love” with Misha Mullov-Abbado, and Beethoven and Schubert with Alasdair Beatson.