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Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Festival October 20-22

Words and Images Courtesy of the Virginia Arts Festival and the Virginia Symphony

Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Symphony Orchestra present Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Festival Olga Kern, piano Eric Jacobsen, conductor Virginia Symphony Orchestra October 20-22, 2023 Friday, October 20 Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News Saturday, October 21 Chrysler Hall, Norfolk Sunday, October 22 Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

As part of a worldwide celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), the Virginia Arts Festival and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra come together to present a festival of his piano masterworks: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Festival featuring renowned pianist Olga Kern with conductor Eric Jacobsen and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office (440 Bank Street in Norfolk). Over the course of three days, audiences will have the opportunity of a lifetime to hear all five of his piano concertos presented by an artist who considers these works to be among her most beloved and cherishes direct family ties with the composer himself. Steinway Artist and Virginia Arts Festival's Connie & Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music, Olga Kern, who won the 2001 Van Cliburn Piano Competition - the first woman in over 30 years to do so - with her performance of his Third Piano Concerto, is the perfect artist to undertake this monumental task. Audiences have the opportunity to hear all five concertos in one weekend. Each evening offers a unique listening experience for the patron in three beautiful venues. No matter the choice, glorious music awaits! PERFORMANCES & PROGRAM Friday, October 20 at 7:30 pm Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News Piano Concerto No. 1 & No. 3 Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm Chrysler Hall, Norfolk Piano Concerto No. 2 & No. 4 Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Sunday, October 22 at 2:30 pm Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach Piano Concerto No. 3 Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

About Olga Kern Internationally-acclaimed pianist Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation's great artists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Olga Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. She jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas as the first woman to do so in more than thirty years.

Olga Kern thrills audiences with her passionate interpretation of the concertos. She considers these works to be among her earliest memories and holds a deep connection to the music and composer. Kern’s great-grandmother, a mezzo-soprano, performed his romances and songs, and, on occasion, was accompanied by the composer himself. Her mother, a pianist, and Olga's first teacher would practice the Third Concerto while pregnant and when Olga began learning the concerto as a teenager, she felt the music was so familiar that she already knew the piece. Hearing Kern perform these pieces as one of the greatest interpreters of Rachmaninoff’s music will make this weekend of performances unforgettable.

About Eric Jacobsen Already well-established as one of classical music’s most exciting and innovative young conductors, Eric Jacobsen combines fresh interpretations of the traditional canon with cutting-edge collaborations across musical genres. Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” Eric, as both a conductor and a cellist has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative programming. As a conductor, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at venues throughout New York City and surrounding areas, at major summer festivals, and on tour nationally and internationally. Eric brings joy, storytelling, and a touch of humor to what he describes as “musical conversations” that delight audiences around the world, including those who don’t traditionally attend classical music concerts. Jacobsen is married to Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and they have a five-year-old daughter, Ivy Jo. For more information on the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, visit For more information on the Virginia Arts Festival, visit

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