Arvada: Virtuoso pianist performs benefit concert

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Music is passion. With the help of nonprofits — such as the Aspiration Foundation — young musicians are being inspired to pursue their ambitions.

World renowned Russian pianist Olga Kern and her son, Vladislav Kern, played an intimate benefit concert Friday, Nov. 1, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 7555 Vance Drive.

Kern and her son performed as a fundraiser for her organization, the Aspiration Foundation, and choose Trinity due to a connection with a friend and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

“She has a strong hurt for kids and education,” organizer Robin Olschner said. “It’s lovely to serve in that capacity and to give someone, like Miss Kern, a place to serve in ways that fit her.”

Formed in 2011 by Kern and her brother, conductor Vladimir Kern, the Aspiration Foundation assists children and musicians by offering master classes, concerts, tours, exhibitions and by helping them participate in Russian and international competitions.

Along with these offerings, the foundation provides financial assistance to those artists who may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to afford to pursue their craft.

“I know how important it is to help students, and they want to get better and better,” Olga Kern said. “It’s a very big inspiration when someone believes in you.”

The benefit, which lasted about 90 minutes, featured selections by composers Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Liszt, Carl Czerny and Heitor Villa-Lobos. In between pieces, Kern recounted fond stories about accomplishments in her life and career that related to each piece. She and son, Vlad, performed a number of stimulating selections with energy and passion.

“I don’t know what connects me,” Kern said, “I always connect with the composer, and this energy comes to me in that moment; the music always keeps me going.”

After the benefit, Olga and Vlad spent more than an hour greeting and conversing with about 100 fans, students and friends. All of the evening’s proceeds went toward helping musicians and the Aspiration Foundation.

Kern, began playing the piano when she was 5. Now, 38, Kern has won eleven international competitions — such as the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — and concertized all over the world.

“So many people in this world that need help, and we try to help them. I love to do this and I will always do this,” Kern said.

For more information or to donate to the Aspiration Foundation, visit www.kernfoundation.ru.