Kirill Gerstein

October 23, 1979 - Voronezh (Russia)

© Marco Borggreve

Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity and versatility has led him to explore a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Adès, his playing is distinguished by a discerning intelligence, great virtuosity and a clarity of expression. He has been described as “Gloriously free and unfazed by technical difficulties, he made the piano sing… The concerto that we’ve heard so many times before gained new life.” (Leipziger Volkszeitung)

In August 2016, Gerstein returned to the BBC Proms in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto (1879 version) with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard. The Independent wrote of his performance: “Technically flawless and imbued with benign authority, his performance was studded with moments of unexpected beauty; one seldom sees an audience erupt with such spontaneous delight.”

Gerstein has recently made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In the 2016/17 season he will appear with the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of their Tchaikovsky Festival curated by Semyon Bychkov performing the composer’s Second and Third Piano Concertos, make his debut with the Orchestre National de France, and will return to the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. A regular guest of all the major orchestras in the USA, this season Gerstein performs Busoni’s Piano Concerto in C with the Boston Symphony, Schonberg’s Piano Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto (1879 version) with the New York Philharmonic. In recital he performs at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Flagey in Brussels.

Gerstein records for myrios classics. His world premiere recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the author’s own final 1879 version published by the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, Russia, was released in 2015. The disc won an ECHO Klassik Award for Concerto Recording of the Year. “This is the kind of serious, intelligent and virtuosic music-making that keeps classical music alive.” (Observer). Prior to this, his first solo recording of works by Schumann, Liszt and Oliver Knussen was chosen by the New York Times as one of the best recordings of 2010. He has collaborated with Tabea Zimmerman on two recordings of sonatas for viola and piano by Rebecca Clarke, Henri Vieuxtemps, Brahms, Schubert and Franck. Gerstein’s latest recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Études was released in July 2016 to widespread acclaim: “Gerstein plays them without any sense of being stretched, finds time to create poetry and drama, and is sparing with his big guns. ‘Feux follets’, a familiar favourite, is magical. ‘Wilde Jagd’ is at once a headlong chase and a model of restraint. In these imaginative performances the whole set adds up to more than the sum of its parts.” (Financial Times)

Born in Voronezh, Russia, Gerstein studied classical piano at a special music school for gifted children. The youngest student to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Kirill Gerstein was 14 when he moved from Russia to the USA to study the piano. Kirill Gerstein counts Dmitri Bashkirov and Ferenc Rados as his principal teachers. In 2001, he won First Prize at the 10th Arthur Rubinstein Competition, and in 2010, was awarded the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award which allowed him to commission new works from Timothy Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen and Brad Mehldau.