The multifaceted pianist Kirill Gerstein is rapidly ascending into classical music’s highest ranks. With a masterful technique, discerning intelligence, and a musical curiosity that has led him to explore repertoire spanning centuries and numerous styles, he has proven to be one of today’s most intriguing and versatile musicians.
Mr. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma and who desires and can sustain a career as a major international concert artist. Since receiving the award in 2010, Mr. Gerstein has shared his prize through the commissioning of boundary-crossing new works by Oliver Knussen, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, Timothy Andres and Alexander Goehr. Mr. Gerstein was also awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award and a 2010 Avery Fisher Grant.
Highlights of his 2014-15 season in North America include performances of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Boston Symphony Orchestra/ Charles Dutoit, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Seguin and Thomas Ades’ In Seven Days with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of the composer; re-engagements with the St. Louis, Vancouver, Indianapolis, Nashville and San Antonio symphonies; debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and the New Jersey Symphony; and a recital on Carnegie Hall’s Keyboard Virtuosos series in Zankel Hall, performing works by Bartók, Bach and Liszt.
Internationally, Mr. Gerstein appears with the Vienna Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and the Gurzenich Orchestra in Cologne, Salzburg and Vienna, as well as with the Sao Paulo Symphony in Brazil. In summer 2014, he also returns to the prestigious Verbier Festival and is the featured soloist on the opening concert of the Edinburgh Festival.
Kirill Gerstein’s recent North American engagements include performances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Oregon, Seattle and Toronto symphonies among others. He has also recently appeared at the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chicago’s Grant Park, Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, Blossom with the Cleveland Orchestra, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Mann Music Center and Saratoga; and performed in recital at New York’s 92nd St. Y and Town Hall, the Kennedy Center and in Boston, Toronto, Berkeley, Vancouver, Detroit, Miami and Princeton.
Internationally, Kirill Gerstein has played with such prominent European orchestras as the Czech, Munich, Rotterdam and London Philharmonics, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskappelle, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Zurich Tonhalle, as well as with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He has performed recitals in Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He made his Salzburg Festival debut playing solo and two piano works with Andras Schiff and has also appeared at the Lucerne and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals as well as at the Proms in London.
Mr. Gerstein’s second solo recording featuring Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Schumann’s Carnaval was released by Myrios Classics in June 2014. His first solo recording with works by Schumann, Liszt and Oliver Knussen, also for Myrios, was chosen by The New York Times as one of the best recordings of 2010. He also collaborated with Tabea Zimmerman on two recordings of sonatas for viola and piano for Myrios, released in February 2011 and November 2012. His most recent recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will be released by Myrios in early 2015 and will be the first recording using the new critical edition from the Tchaikovsky Museum in Moscow using the composer’s original second version.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Mr. Gerstein studied piano at a special music school for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. At the age of 14, he came to the United States to study jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. After completing his studies in three years and following his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood, Mr. Gerstein turned his focus back to classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned both Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees by the age of 20. He continued his studies in Madrid with Dmitri Bashkirov and in Budapest with Ferenc Rados.
An American citizen since 2003, Kirill Gerstein now divides his time between the United States and Germany, where he has been a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart since 2006. In September 2014, he was named Artist-in-Residence in the Piano Department at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, and joined the piano and chamber music faculty at Boston Conservatory, the first joint appointment between the two institutions.