Presented by the Virginia Arts Festival

Two landmark works of the chamber repertoire, the piano quintets of Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich, are rendered with power and beauty by acclaimed pianist Olga Kern and the path-breaking Dalí Quartet.

Brahms tried different combinations of instruments for what became his Piano Quintet before settling on the warm, rich sound of four strings to blend and contrast with the power and dramatic capabilities of the piano. The piece has long been a favorite with performers and audiences.

While Brahms chose to open his quintet with a movement in classical sonata form, Shostakovich began his with a prelude and fugue, acknowledging Bach. One of the most popular works of chamber music from the 20th Century, the quintet is emotionally intense and the mood vacillates from happy to sad, tragic to cheerful, and everything in between.

New York City-based Olga Kern is the winner of many prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and a GRAMMY® nomination. She has given solo recitals and performed with leading orchestras around the world, and makes her Delos debut with this release.

This album is presented by the Virginia Arts Festival, celebrating its 25th season in 2022. Olga Kern is the Director of Chamber Music for the Festival and will appear on six concerts in the spring of 2022.

The Philadelphia-based Dalí Quartet is best known for spearheading an infusion of Latin American works into the chamber repertoire. Rapturously received in its live performances, the Dalí is the recipient of the 2021 Guarneri String Quartet Residency and the 2021 Silver Medal at the inaugural Piazzolla Music Competition. The Dalí is Quartet in Residence at West Chester University.

A Statement from Olga Kern

“As a classical music pianist and artist, I embrace beauty. I seek to share with audiences the powerful emotions that make music so magical, and I try to make people feel that beauty and be part of it. This has been my world, my mission and my mindset. I cherish it; I always will!

Such a mindset is entirely incompatible with any form of aggression or violence. And even more so with the horrors of war.

I defy war. It’s heartbreaking to witness the tragedy that is unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine. It’s ugly and brutal beyond words, and it also brings us together in the face of injustice.

My grandfather was from Ukraine; my great-grandmother was an opera singer, who performed with Rachmaninoff. She worked at Kharkiv Opera Theatre for many years, and they lived in Kharkiv. Seeing this beautiful city bombed and destroyed brings tears to my eyes.

I have a lot of Ukrainian friends, and these wonderful people have always formed an important part of my life. Even the first prize winner of my piano competition is from Ukraine.

I cannot even imagine the horrors they must be experiencing now, and my heart cannot take such thoughts.

Please stop this madness! Please say NO to war!”

—Olga Kern