Pianist KIRILL GERSTEIN’s curiosity and versatility has led to a powerful engagement with a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Adès, his playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity. Gerstein’s energetic and imaginative musical personality has rapidly taken him to the top of his profession.
An American citizen based in Berlin, Kirill Gerstein balances his career between the U.S. and Europe. Highlights of his 2018/19 season in North America include re-engagements with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, as well as with the Toronto, Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, and Cincinnati symphonies, and a tour with the Czech Philharmonic in California. His summer festival appearances include his debut at the Grand Teton Festival and a return to Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival.
Gerstein is also a frequent guest with the Boston Symphony in 2018/19. He is the Koussevitzky Resident at Tanglewood this summer and appears four different times throughout the summer, performing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BSO; Thomas Adès’ piano concerto In Seven Days with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra with Adès on the podium; a two-piano recital with Adès at Ozawa Hall; and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Boston Pops during the Tanglewood on Parade festivities. During the season, he premieres Adès’ second piano concerto, which was commissioned for him by the Boston Symphony, at both Symphony Hall in Boston and in Carnegie Hall in New York and plays two-piano recitals with Adès in Boston and at Zankel Hall at Carnegie.
International 2018/19 highlights include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Symphony, Dresden Staatskappelle, Vienna Symphony, NDR Hamburg Orchestra, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris. Gerstein also records the Second and Third Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Semyon Bychkov for Decca.
Kirill Gerstein’s recent North American engagements includes performances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, National, Dallas, Vancouver, and Houston symphonies, as well as recital appearances in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle, Miami, and at Princeton and Duke Universities. In Europe, Gerstein has played with such prominent European orchestras as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Munich, London and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, and the Finnish Radio Orchestra. He has performed recitals in Vienna, Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Festival, as well as at Verbier, the Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals, the Proms in London, and the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival.
Autumn 2017 marked the release of Scriabin’s Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor with the Oslo Philharmonic and Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko (LAWO Classics), and the recording of Scriabin’s Prometheus: The Poem of Fire with the same forces. Early 2018 saw the release of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and David Robertson for Myrios, joining previous recordings for that label which include Liszt’s Transcendental Études, picked by The New Yorker as one of 2016’s most notable recordings; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in the composer’s own final version from 1879; Imaginary Pictures, coupling Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Schumann’s Carnaval; and a recital disc of works by Schumann, Liszt, and Knussen. Gerstein’s next release will be a live recording of the Busoni Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony, also on the Myrios label.
Brought up in the former Soviet Union studying both classical and jazz piano, at 14 Gerstein moved to the U.S. where he was the youngest student to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Shifting his focus to the classical repertoire, he studied with Solomon Mikowsky in New York, Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid, and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Gerstein has received a series of prestigious accolades, including First Prize at the 10th Arthur Rubinstein Competition in 2001 and a Gilmore Young Artist Award in 2002. In 2010 he was awarded both an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Gilmore Artist Award, which provided the funds for him to commission new works from Timo Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen, and Brad Mehldau.
Keenly aware of the importance of working with young musicians, Gerstein taught at the Stuttgart Hochschule für Musik from 2007 to 2017 and beginning in the fall of 2018, he will teach at the Kronberg Academy’s newly announced Sir András Schiff Performance Program for Young Artists.