LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, Feb. 4, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Steinway & Sons announces the addition of Russian pianist Olga Kern to its prestigious roster of Steinway Artists. With the designation of Steinway Artist, Kern joins an elite group of pianists which includes immortal legends such as Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, and Arthur Rubinstein.

Olga Kern is now recognized as one of her generation's great pianists. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship, and extraordinary technique, this magnetic virtuoso performer continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Olga is the first woman in 30 years to receive the Gold Medal and first prize at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ms. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. She began studying piano at the age of five. She was the first-place winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition in Moscow, Russia when she was 17 years old. She is also the winner of 11 prestigious international competitions in China, Japan, Italy, Czech Republic, South Africa, and Morocco.

Ms. Kern's performing career has brought her to many of the world's most important venues, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, Salzburger Festspielhaus, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Chatelet in Paris. In North America, she has performed with the symphonies of Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore, Vancouver, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Detroit and in cities from coast to coast.

She has collaborated with the most prominent conductors in the world today, including Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Spivakov, Manfred Honeck, Christoph Eschenbach, James Conlon, Antoni Wit, Pinchas Zukerman, James DePreist, Constantine Orbelian, and Peter Oundjian.

In addition to performing, Ms. Kern also devotes time to the support and education of developing musicians. In 2012, the artist and her brother, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the Aspiration Foundation with the objective of providing financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.

Ms. Kern's discography includes Harmonia Mundi recordings of her acclaimed success at the Van Cliburn competition recital; Tchaikovsky Piano concerto No.1; a Grammy-nominated recording of Rachmaninoff's Corelli Variations and all Rachmaninoff's transcriptions; a recital disk with works by Rachmaninoff and Balakirev; a live recording of Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Antoni Wit; Brahms Variations; and a recording of Chopin Sonatas No.2 and No.3. She was featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition Playing on the Edge and in the documentary film Olga's Journey about her first years after winning Van Cliburn competition. In addition, she has been featured in the film The Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg (with famed soprano Renee Fleming), as well as in the documentary films They Came to Play and The Cliburn—50 Years of Gold.

Most recently, the SONY recording of Ms. Kern performing the Rachmaninoff Sonata for Violoncello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta was released in the summer of 2013.

"Sheer talent does not come more transparently," writes Bryce Morrison in The Gramophone.

"Call it star quality—music likes Kern the way the camera liked Garbo," writes Ronald Broun in The Washington Post. "Her electricity at the keyboard is palpable, and though she generates it from the music itself, as it flows through her fingers, it takes on fresh voltage that is unmistakably hers."
"Steinway & Sons has long admired the artistic excellence that Olga Kern brings to the piano," said Ron Losby, President of Steinway & Sons Americas. "As a past winner of both the Rachmaninoff and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competitions, it is especially poignant to see her follow in the footsteps of Rachmaninoff and Van Cliburn in becoming a Steinway Artist. We welcome Olga to the Steinway family."
"For me, Steinway is like no other instrument," said Kern. "Steinway allows each individual artist to display his unique qualities of strength and refined sound. Steinway is the magical medium through which a pianist communicates with the composer's mind and soul."
About Steinway & Sons

Since 1853 Steinway pianos have set an uncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty and investment value. Steinway remains the choice of 9 out of 10 concert artists, and it is the preferred piano of countless musicians, professional and amateur, throughout the world. For more information, visit www.steinway.com.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=23384

Anthony Gilroy
Steinway   & Sons
(718) 204-3116