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.
Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years. Since receiving the award in 2010, 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. Gerstein was also awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, and he received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award and a 2010 Avery Fisher Grant.
Highlights of his 2015/2016 season in North America include performances of Scriabin’s Prometheus: Poem of Fire with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with Semyon Bychkov and the Berlin Philharmonic, Rachmaninoff’s 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 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; a European tour with the Czech Philharmonic; and recitals in New York and Houston.
Gerstein’s second solo recording, featuring Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Schumann’s Carnaval, was released by Myrios Classics in 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 Zimmermann on two recordings of sonatas for viola and piano for Myrios. His 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.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, 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, Gerstein turned his focus back to classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees by the age of 20.
Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003 and divides his time between the United States and Germany.