"Kern let the natural beauty be effortlessly absorbed by his attentive audience. Stylistically, he knew just to do with his scores. Kern played pure music."
-Jeff Manookian, The Salt Lake Tribune, Juni 1998
Oliver Kern was born in 1970 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, and there he began studying piano at the age of 5. His artistic activity started when he was very young, and he stood out in the German musical scene for his brilliant results in international piano contests. He graduated with a first-class degree in piano, orchestra conducting and chorus conducting from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, under the guidance of Wan Ing Ong. He went on to specialize in piano with Rudolf Buchbinder and Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, at the Musik-Akademie in Basel and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
He has won a great number of awards in international piano competitions: first and second prizes in the international competitions of Senigallia, Hamamatsu, Peking and Paris. He has drawn the attention of critics by winning two prestigious competitions: the “ARD” award(prize) in Munich, in 1999, and the “Beethoven” award(prize) in Vienna, in 2001, when he was the first German pianist to have won this award; in the latter he also received the special award for the best performance of Beethoven’s sonatas. He is much appreciated for his performance of Beethoven’s and Brahms’ music; the critics recognise his merit of possessing a technical virtuosity that is not an end in itself, but is oriented to a thorough research of timbre and expression. His profound interpretation has led him to the realisation of rare cultural projects such as the performance of Brahms’ complete operas for piano solo in the Classix Festival Braunschweig: “With great intensity and poetry Oliver Kern is modelling the Brahms cycle.” (Braunschweiger Zeitung).
He has performed in important festivals and in famous halls in America, Asia and Europe, and has been acclaimed by all his audiences: Musikverein and Konzerthaus Wien, Schauspielhaus Berlin, Musikhalle Hamburg, Herkulessaal Munich, Salle Gaveau Paris, Auditorium St. Cecilia Rome, Century Hall Beijing, Saitama Arts Centre Tokyo, Seoul Arts Center. He has played with famous orchestras including the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin, Munich, Hannover and Vienna, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, Michael Stern, Lu Jia, Marc Soustrot, Gerard Oskamp and Dmitri Yablonski. He has recorded for the German, Austrian, French, Italian and Japanese radio and television. With the label “Realsound” he has published CD’s with solo works written by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Ravel, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, Stravinsky.
After having taught at the Hanyang University Seoul, College of Music, as professor for piano since 2008 Oliver Kern is teaching at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg as professor for piano.