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Olga Kern International Piano Competition Launches

November 11, 2016

Albuquerque Hosts First-Ever Olga Kern International Piano Competition

Young Pianists Representing 14 Countries Are Participating In Challenging Public Competition Nov. 13-20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Thursday, November 10, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Known for its diverse cultural assets and inspiring vistas, Albuquerque will shine even brighter in the coming days as some of the best young pianists in the world arrive here for the inaugural Olga Kern International Piano Competition on Nov. 13-20.

The challenging competition is specifically for pianists ages 18-32. Representing 14 countries, the 22 chosen competitors will vie for more than $30,000 in prize money. In addition to a cash prize, the winner will receive a professional recording on the Steinway & Sons label and concert engagements throughout Europe and the United States.

All competitive events are open to the public, and admission is free for the first round on Nov. 14-15 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC). Admission is $10 for the second round with the 10 selected semi-finalists on Nov. 17 at the NHCC. Tickets may be reserved at 505-724-2771.

Competition viewing times are 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-6 p.m. and 7:10-9 p.m. on Nov. 14-15 and 9 a.m.-1:20 p.m., 2:20-6:45 p.m. and 7:45-10 p.m. on Nov. 17.

Live streaming of the competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 14 at

For the final competitive round, four finalists will perform in conjunction with the New Mexico Philharmonic’s “Stars of the Future” concert at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico (UNM) campus. Audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the Audience Award winner.

KHFM’s Brent Stevens will host a pre-concert talk at 5 p.m., and Vladimir Kern will conduct this special concert. Admission ranges from $22 to $75 and $10 for students with valid ID. Tickets may be reserved at 505-925-5858 and

Winners of the inaugural Olga Kern International Piano Competition will be showcased in a recital and awards ceremony at 3 p.m. on Nov. 20 at the NHCC. Admission is $25 or $10 for students. Tickets may be reserved at 505-724-2771.

The 22 competitors and their home countries are:

Nino Bakradze, Georgia

Junhui Chen, China

Willem de Beer, South Africa

Anna Dmytrenko, Ukraine/U.S.

Mehdi Ghazi, Canada

Chen Guang, China

Shino Hidaka, Japan

Kyohei Imaizumi, Japan

Richard Octaviano Kogima, Brazil

Seong-Hyeon Leem, South Korea

Steven Massicotte, Canada

Francisco Montero, Spain

Anastasiya Naplekova, Ukraine

Liana Paniyeva, Ukraine

Joshua Rupley, U.S. (N.M.)

Wenting Shi, China

Marie Sumnikova, Czech Republic

Stefan Weiler, Germany

Rui Xu, China

Yundi Xu, China

Fahrettin Eren Yahsi, Turkey

Yevgeny Yontov, Israel

At an opening reception on Sunday, Nov. 13, the competitors will participate in a drawing to determine the order of their performances.

The competitors were chosen earlier this year through a demanding process by a selection panel of judges, including world-acclaimed pianist Olga Kern. Along with Kern, eight other internationally renowned musicians will serve as judges for the prestigious competition.

The mission of the Olga Kern International Competition mission is “to provide the venue for young pianists to develop international careers through a competition that is recognized globally for its value and excellence.”

"Launching a successful performing career in the 21st century is a daunting task for most young, talented, aspiring musicians,” said Olga Kern. “I have been very fortunate to achieve my dreams of becoming a concert pianist.

“And my hope is that the Olga Kern International Piano Competition can now assist the next generation in its efforts to achieve their aspirations and dreams. I am thrilled to be working in tandem with the New Mexico Philharmonic on this new and exciting project."

As a major sponsor of the competition, Steinway & Sons will provide all pianos for the competition, including in host families’ homes. Albuquerque’s Scalo Northern Italian Grill is the food sponsor for the jury members, and The City of Albuquerque is also a sponsor of this international competition.

The Olga Kern International Piano Competition will be held every three to four years after its debut this month.

For more information on the competition, please visit, email or phone 505-814-5355.

About Olga Kern

Now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists, Olga Kern’s career began with her award-winning, gold-medal performance at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001. With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike.

Kern will serve as Artistic Director and President of the Jury of the inaugural Olga Kern International Piano Competition being held Nov. 13-20 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of 5. Winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition when she was 17, Kern is a laureate of 11 international competitions and has toured throughout her native Russia, Europe and the United States, as well as in Japan, South Africa and South Korea.

Recipient of an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia in 1996, Kern is a member of Russia’s International Academy of Arts. In addition to performing, Kern devotes her time to the support and education of developing musicians. In 2012, the artist and her brother, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the “Aspiration” Foundation to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world. For more info, see

About the Olga Kern International Piano Competition

The Olga Kern International Piano Competition provides the venue for young pianists to develop international careers through a competition that is recognized globally for its value and excellence. Formed in 2014, the Olga Kern International Piano Competition is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. For more info, go to

Contact: Linda Lockett, 505-369-8228,



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