Kirill Gerstein


Pianist Kirill Gerstein’s heritage combines the traditions of Russian, American and Central European music-making with an insatiable curiosity. These qualities and the relationships that he has developed with orchestras, conductors, instrumentalists, singers and composers, have led him to explore a huge spectrum of repertoire both new and old. From Bach to Adès, Gerstein’s playing is distinguished by a ferocious technique and discerning intelligence, matched with an energetic, imaginative musical presence that places him at the top of his profession.

Born in the former Soviet Union, Gerstein is an American citizen based in Berlin. His career is similarly international with world-wide performances ranging from concerts with the Chicago and Boston Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, London Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO), to recitals in London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and New York. In the coming season, Gerstein’s flair for curation will be on display as he becomes Artist-in-Residence with the BRSO and presents a three-part concert series entitled ‘Busoni and His World’ at London’s Wigmore Hall. With the BRSO, Gerstein will perform series of concerts at home and on tour with Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Antonello Manacorda and Erina Yashima.

Gerstein’s forthcoming release on myrios classics will be a double album of music by Debussy and Komitas. He first collaborated with the label in 2010 and, through the partnership has been able to realise many thoughtfully curated projects including Mozart’s Four-Hand Piano Sonatas with his mentor of 17-years, Ferenc Rados; Strauss’s Enoch Arden with the late Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire; Downfall); Busoni’s monumental Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo; and The Gershwin Moment with the St Louis Symphony, David Robertson, Gerstein’s jazz mentor Gary Burton and Storm Large. Deutsche Grammophon’s 2020 release of the world première performance of Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, written especially for Gerstein, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra won a 2020 Gramophone Award and was nominated for three GRAMMY Awards.

A long-time believer in the importance of teaching in the life of a musician, Kirill Gerstein is currently Professor of Piano at Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Hochschule and on the faculty of Kronberg Academy. Under the auspices of Kronberg Academy, his series of free and open online seminars entitled Kirill Gerstein invites is now into its fifth season, featuring conversations with leading musicians, artists, and thinkers which to date have included Ai Weiwei, Iván Fischer, Deborah Borda, Sir Antonio Pappano, Kaija Saariaho and Joshua Redman.

Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Kirill Gerstein attended one of the country’s special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ record collection. Following a chance encounter with jazz legend Gary Burton in St. Petersburg when he was 14, he was invited as the youngest student to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied jazz piano in tandem with his classical piano studies. At the age of 16, Gerstein decided to focus on classical music completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees with Solomon Mikowsky at New York’s Manhattan School of Music, followed by further studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, First Prize winner at the 10th Arthur Rubinstein Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant holder. In May 2021, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Updated on 05 october 2022

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