“The Steinway piano offers immense possibilities. When playing it, I always discover something new about the music and myself.”
Photo: Marco Borggreve
“Kirill Gerstein now belongs to the class of the most renowned classical pianists thanks to the idiosyncratic sound worlds he creates and his profoundly universal understanding of music.” - Süddeutsche Zeitung
From Bach to Adès, Steinway Artist Kirill Gerstein's playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity, and 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 solo and concerto engagements taking him across Europe and the United States, to China and Australia.
An important focus of recent for Gerstein was the world première of Thomas Adès's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. The outcome of a long and productive relationship with both orchestra and composer, the concerto was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and composed especially for Gerstein. Following the world première in Boston and subsequent New York and European premières, Gerstein and Adès presented the new piece in London, Helsinki, Munich, Amsterdam and Los Angeles. He was also heard playing the new work with the Danish National Symphony and Nicholas Collon, and The Cleveland Orchestra and Alan Gilbert.
Since they first worked together in 2007, Gerstein has made his debuts with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics as well as with the Royal Concertgebouw under Semyon Bychkov's baton. He made his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in Paris under Sir Simon Rattle in December 2017, and has since appeared with them in London under Sir Mark Elder. Gerstein recorded Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F with David Robertson and the St Louis Symphony Orchestra for his The Gershwin Moment album, released in 2018. He went on to tour the concerto with orchestras including The Hague Residentie Orkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Houston and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. In addition to these tours, he also began the cycle of performing all Rachmaninov’s works for piano and orchestra with The Minnesota Orchestra - and to mark Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, opened the Chicago Symphony’s Piano series surveying the complete piano sonatas. He will give tour de force performances of the five Piano Concertos in Grand Rapids and San Antonio as part of the Beethoven celebrations as well.
Gerstein's inquisitive side is equally in play programming chamber concerts and solo recitals, where his vast knowledge of the repertoire was the basis for his “Uprising and social tumult” program, which he presented at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, and The Gilmore’s Piano Master Series, as well as in Chicago, São Paulo, Singapore, Melbourne, Copenhagen and Sydney. Gerstein was also heard in recital at Vienna’s Musikverein and Stockholm’s Konserthuset. For the 2019-20 season, Gerstein presented “Journey through Europe” juxtaposing works by Adès, Bartók and Kurtág with Haydn, Schubert, Brahms and Liszt in concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie, New York’s Zankel Hall, and the Wigmore Hall.
Kirill Gerstein’s carefully curated recording projects for myrios classics have recently included the release of Busoni’s monumental Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo; The Gershwin Moment, including special appearances from Storm Large and Gerstein’s former mentor Gary Burton; Liszt’s Transcendental Études which was picked by The New Yorker as one of 2016’s notable recordings; and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the composer’s own final version from 1879. Previous recordings for myrios classics also include Imaginary Pictures coupling Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Schumann’s Carnaval; two discs of sonatas for viola and piano by Brahms, Schubert, Franck, Clarke and Vieuxtemps recorded with Tabea Zimmerman; and a recital disc of works by Schumann, Liszt and Knussen. He also featured on LAWO Classics’ Scriabin cycle performing Prometheus: The Poem of Fire and the Piano Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko.
Brought up studying both classical and jazz piano, Kirill Gerstein was 14 when he moved to the US and was the youngest student to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. As his focus turned towards the classical repertoire, Gerstein furthered his studies with Solomon Mikowsky in New York, Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. He won the first of a series of prestigious accolades in 2001: First Prize at the 10th Arthur Rubinstein Competition. In 2002, he won a Gilmore Young Artist Award, and in 2010 both an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Gilmore Artist Award, which enabled him to commission new works from Timothy Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen and Brad Mehldau. Believing that teaching is an integral part of being a musician, Gerstein led piano classes at the Stuttgart Musik Hochschule between 2007 and 2017. In October 2018, he took up the post of Professor of Piano at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule in Berlin in addition to the Kronberg Academy’s new Sir András Schiff Performance Programme for Young Artists.
He is managed by Kathryn Enticott of Enticott Music Management.