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 2015-16 season in North America include performances of Scriabin’s Prometheus: Poem of Fire with Ricardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony, Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 with Semyon Bychkov and the Berlin Philharmonic, Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 1 with the Cleveland Orchestra, and playing both of George Gershwin’s piano concertos in the original jazz-band version to open New York’s 92nd Street Y’s 15/16 season; re-engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as with the Toronto, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Colorado, Utah and Oregon symphonies and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; a tour to Australia and New Zealand; his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw with concerts in Amsterdam and Frankfurt; a European tour with the Czech Philharmonic; and recitals in New York and Houston.
Kirill Gerstein’s recent North American engagements include performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis and Montreal 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 Zankel Hall at Carnegie 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 was released by Myrios in March 2015 and is the first recording using the new critical edition recently completed by 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.
Mr. Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003 and divides his time between the United States and Germany.