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Pianist Olga Kern, son to perform Mozart at Popejoy

Russian pianist Olga Kern always wanted to play Mozart’s double concerto, but she was waiting for the right pianist.

Pianist Olga Kern will perform a double concerto on March 24.

She found the right musical partner in her son, Vladislav.

The Kerns will perform Piano Concerto No. 1 in Popejoy Hall on Saturday.-

Born in Moscow like his mother, Vladislav began studying at Juilliard in the fourth grade. In his second year of college at 19, he transferred to an Italian school to absorb a different atmosphere and culture, his mother said.

“He’s studying at a wonderful conservatory,” Kern said in a phone interview from a stop in Denver. “We understand each other on a personal level. He’s very serious; he loves to play Beethoven and Brahms —— big pieces.”

Mozart’s concerto features some familiar melodies, Kern said.

“Some of the places, especially the third movement, were used in the movie ‘Amadeus,’ ” she said. “I think it’s a masterpiece. From beginning to end, there are so many fantastic melodies. We are always interacting and sometimes answering each other.”

^^ Pianist Vladislav Kern.

Next, Kern will solo on her own concerto, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Finished in 1912, it is one of the composer’s early compositions.

“You can hear the excitement of the young Prokofiev,” Kern said. “You can feel and hear his language, because he was always working in a sarcastic way. You can hear it; he was known for his irony. You can hear that something is not right, but he finalizes it at the end. It’s very triumphal.”

Prokofiev was long satiric about the communist regime.

“He moved to France and he came back to the Soviet Union because he thought things would be better” under Stalin, she said. “He died the same day as Stalin. Everyone went to Stalin’s funeral; but there was not one person for Prokofiev.

“Russians are always like this; even if you’re happy, you’re sad,” she continued. “You can feel it in his music. There is a lot of bitterness.”

The New Mexico Philharmonic will close the program with Beethoven’s heroic Symphony No. 7 in A Major.

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