Kirill Gerstein

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Kirill Gerstein
Kirill Gerstein backstage.jpg
Kirill Gerstein (2017)
Background information
Born23 October 1979
Voronezh, Soviet Union
Occupation(s)pianist, teacher

Kirill Gerstein (Russian: Кирилл Герштейн) (born 23 October 1979) is a Russian-American pianist. He is the sixth recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award.[1] An American citizen since 2003, Gerstein divides his time between the United States and Germany and is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Gerstein was born in Voronezh in the former Soviet Union to a Russian Jewish family and began playing the piano at age three.[4] At the age of 11, he won his first competition—the International Bach Competition in Gorzów, Poland.[5] Though he studied classical piano formally, he also learned to play jazz by listening to his parents' record collection.[5] At the age of 14, he met jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton at a festival in St. Petersburg, which led to a full-scholarship offer to study jazz piano at Boston's Berklee College of Music.[5] Gerstein was the youngest student ever admitted to the school.[6]

Following his time at Berklee and second summer at Tanglewood, Gerstein attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky, earning both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees by the age of 20.[2] He continued his studies in Madrid with Dmitri Bashkirov at Queen Sofía College of Music, in Budapest with Ferenc Rados, and also at the International Piano Academy Lake Como.[2][7]


Kirill Gerstein made his major orchestral debut in September 2000 performing Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 with David Zinman and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and has since built a career as a major international concert artist.[8]

As a soloist, Gerstein has performed with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Montreal, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Toronto Symphonies, among other North American orchestras. Abroad, he has performed with such orchestras as the Berlin, Czech, Munich, Rotterdam, and London Philharmonics, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and the Zürich Tonhalle, as well as with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo[2] and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.

Gerstein's festival appearances include engagements with the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival, Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and—with the Philadelphia Orchestra—Bravo! Vail, Mann Music Center, and Saratoga Chamber Music Festival. He debuted at the Salzburg Festival playing solo repertoire and piano-duo works with András Schiff. He has also performed at the Lucerne Festival, Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, and the BBC Proms.[2]

Early honors and awards include First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and the 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award.[9][1]

In January 2010, Gerstein was announced as the sixth recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award, which recognizes "extraordinary piano artistry" once every four years with a $300,000 prize. Previous winners include Leif Ove Andsnes from Norway, Piotr Anderszewski from Poland, and Ingrid Fliter from Argentina.[10] With the prize money, Gerstein has been able to commission new works from Timo Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen, and Brad Mehldau, with additional commissions scheduled for future performance.[2]

In April 2010, Gerstein was awarded Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Career Grant.[11][12]

In 2015, Gerstein's recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin led by James Gaffigan, was honored with an ECHO Klassik Award as the "Concerto Recording of the Year."[13] This recording marked the world premiere of the Tchaikovsky concerto in its 1879 urtext edition, which reflects the way the composer himself conducted the concerto before a series of posthumous edits were made to the score. Based on Tchaikovsky's own conducting score from his last public concert, the new critical edition was published in 2015 by the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, tying in with Tchaikovsky's 175th anniversary and marking 140 years since the concerto's world premiere in Boston, in 1875. For the recording, Kirill was granted special pre-publication access to the new edition.[14][15]

On September 9, 2016, myrios classics releases Gerstein's recording of Liszt's complete Transcendental Etudes.[16]

Selected discography[edit]

Though Gerstein now records for Myrios Classics, his 2004 debut recital recording of works by Bach, Beethoven, Gershwin (arranged by Earl Wild), and Scriabin was released on Oehms Classics.[17]

Year Recording Details[18] Label
2016 Liszt: Transcendental Etudes[16] myrios classics
2015 Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (World premiere recording of the composer's own version)

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2

with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by James Gaffigan

myrios classics
2014 Imaginary Pictures

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Schumann: Carnaval

  • Included in The New York Times' top classical recordings of 2014[19]
myrios classics
2012 Sonatas for Viola & Piano, Vol. 2

with Tabea Zimmermann, viola

Johannes Brahms: Sonata for Clarinet (Viola) and Piano in F minor, Op. 120, No. 1

Franz Schubert: Sonata for Arpeggione (Viola) and Piano in A minor, D. 821

César Franck: Sonata for Violin (Viola) and Piano in A major

myrios classics
2010 Sonatas for Viola & Piano, Vol. 1

with Tabea Zimmermann, viola

Rebecca Clarke: Sonata for Viola and Piano

Henri Vieuxtemps: Sonata for Viola and Piano in B-Flat Major, Op. 36

Johannes Brahms: Sonata for Clarinet (Viola) and Piano in E-Flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2

myrios classics
2010 Schumann: Humoresque

Knussen: Ophelia's Last Dance

Liszt: Sonata in B minor

  • One of 25 Classical Recordings included in The New York Times Holiday Gift Guide[21]
  • Included in NPR's "The Top 5 Chopin and Schumann Albums of 2010"[22]
myrios classics



  1. ^ a b c "Kirill Gerstein (2010)". The Gilmore.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Biography". Official website of Kirill Gerstein, pianist. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Teaching staff". Musikhochschule Stuttgart. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "PROFILE: On the Road with Pianist Kirill Gerstein" (PDF). 21C Artists to Watch. 21C Media Group, Inc. October 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Farber, Jim (February 8, 2012). "Kirill Gerstein: Classical Ally to Jazz". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  6. ^ Church, Michael (July 18, 2014). "He got rhythm: Piano virtuoso Kirill Gerstein embraces classical, jazz... all that is unexpected". The Independent. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  7. ^ "Students". International Piano Academy Lake Como. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  8. ^ Small, Mark. "In Classic Form". Berklee College of Music. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "2001 Competition". The Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society.
  10. ^ "Gilmore Artist Award". The Gilmore. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The Avery Fisher Career Grants". Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
  12. ^ "Kirill Gerstein wins Avery Fisher Career Grant". Official website of Kirill Gerstein, piano. April 29, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Kirill Gerstein wins ECHO Klassik Concerto Recording of the Year". Dr. Raab & Dr. Böhm.
  14. ^ Wallace, Helen (February 3, 2015). "Artist interview: Kirill Gerstein on recording Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 from the composer's own conducting score". BBC Music Magazine. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  15. ^ "Kirill Gerstein's new myrios classics CD featuring Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev due to be released on February 9". Official website of Kirill Gerstein, piano. January 21, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "MYR019 KIRILL GERSTEIN - LISZT TRANSCENDENTAL ETUDES". myrios classics. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "OehmsClassics: Gerstein, Kirill: Bach · Beethoven · Scriabin · Gershwin/Wild". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  18. ^ "Recording". Official website of Kirill Gerstein, piano. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  19. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (December 18, 2014). "Classical Critics Pick the Top Music Recordings of 2014". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  20. ^ Fauchet, Benoît (November 30, 2013). "Diapason d'or 2013: le palmarès en un coup d'oeil". Diapason. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  21. ^ "Holiday Gift Guide: Classical Music". The New York Times. November 23, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  22. ^ Gehl, Robin (December 22, 2010). "The Top 5 Chopin And Schumann Albums of 2010". Deceptive Cadence. NPR Classical. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  23. ^ "Kirill Gerstein named as 2010 Gilmore Artist". Gramophone.

External links[edit]