Muskegon, Michigan, May 10, 2017 — West Michigan Symphony’s 16-17 concert season closes May 19 with a concert titled Rachmaninoff no. 3.
Conducted by WMS music director Scott Speck, the Friday evening concert brings the long-awaited Olga Kern to the Frauenthal stage to play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3 in D minor. Gold Medal winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Kern joins the WMS to play the piece that earned her the title.
The award-winning Russian-born pianist, who makes her West Michigan Symphony debut at the May 19 concert, has deep roots in classical music. Her great-great grandmother was a friend of Tchaikovsky’s and Kern’s mother, whom she calls “an incredible pianist and my first teacher,” played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 so often during her pregnancy that Kern has said it made easy for her to learn it as a teenager. The award-winning television documentary “Playing on the Edge,” about the 2001 Van Cliburn Piano Competition, helped make Kern a star. She now tours with top conductors and orchestras around the world.
The Friday evening concert will also feature Tchaikovsky’s final work, the Symphony no. 6. Conducted by the composer himself, its premiere took place in St. Petersburg in 1893 and the work paints a clear picture of his lifelong battle with depression and obsession with fate. The second performance of the work would take place 21 days later, at a memorial concert for the composer, who died just nine days after its premiere. Its French title, the “Pathétique,” will forever be associated with the tragedy of his sudden death.
Tickets start at $20 with special tickets prices for students. The concert will be performed at the Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon. Tickets can be purchased by calling the WMS box office at 231.726.3231 x223, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue, online at www.westmichigansymphony.org.