Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein has quickly proven to be one of today’s most intriguing young musicians. His masterful technique, musical curiosity and probing interpretations have led to explorations of classical music and jazz, advanced degrees by the age of 20, a professorship in piano by the age of 27, and a full performance schedule at the world’s major music centers and festivals.
In January 2010 Mr. Gerstein was named the recipient of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award. Only the sixth pianist to have been so honored, the Gilmore Award is made 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. He was also honored by being awarded a 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant in April 2010.
Highlights of Mr. Gerstein’s 2011/12 season include debuts with the New York Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony and at the Aspen Music Festival and London’s Proms; re-engagements with San Francisco, Detroit and Atlanta symphonies as well as with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; a three week Rachmaninoff concerto cycle with the Houston Symphony; and recitals at New York’s 92nd St. Y, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, London’s Wigmore Hall and in Vancouver, Miami and Sarasota.
Mr. Gerstein’s recent engagements in North America include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Vancouver symphonies among others; festival appearances at Chicago’s Grant Park, the Mann Music Center and Saratoga with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony and Blossom with the Cleveland Orchestra; and recitals in Boston, New York’s Town Hall, Cincinnati, Detroit and Washington’s Kennedy Center.
Internationally, Kirill Gerstein has worked with such prominent European orchestras as the Munich, Rotterdam and Royal Philharmonics, London’s Philharmonia, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskappelle, Zurich Tonhalle, the Finnish and Swedish Radio Orchestras, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, as well as with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Caracas with Gustavo Dudamel. He has also performed recitals in Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London’s 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 Verbier, Lucerne and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals.
His first recording for Myrios Classics of recital works by Schumann, Liszt and Oliver Knussen was released in October 2010, following by a duo recital disc with Tabea Zimmermann.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Mr. Gerstein attended one of the country’s special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. He came to the US at 14 to continue his studies in jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. However, he also continued working on the classical piano repertoire. Following his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood, he decided to focus mainly on classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees. He continued his studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest.
Kirill Gerstein was awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award and was chosen as Carnegie Hall’s “Rising Star” for the 2005/06 season. He became an American citizen in 2003 and is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.