“How often is it that a piano disc comes along consisting entirely of new music as technically exhilarating in its modern way as any disc of Chopin or Liszt? There is life in the virtuoso concert pianist yet. This collection of pieces by Thomas Adès includes works for solo piano, for two pianos, and for piano and orchestra. The pianist who is common to all is Kirill Gerstein…. Gerstein is a virtuoso and his brilliance pays dividends here.”
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 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. Highlights of the new season include the launch of Gerstein’s Helsinki Philharmonic Artist-in-Residence season with both Brahms’ Piano Concertos played in one evening under John Storgårds; performances of Schumann’s Piano Concerto at home and in Vienna’s Musikverein with Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic; and a return to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra for music by Ravel and Busoni conducted by Susanna Mälkki. In recital, Gerstein will present the twelve études of Debussy and twelve Transcendental Études of Liszt at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal as well as on tour in Japan, Portugal and Belgium. With close colleagues Tabea Zimmermann and the Hagen Quartett, he will be heard at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Berliner Philharmonie and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.
Over the last year, Gerstein’s decade long relationship with Thomas Adès came to the fore with the world and European premières of Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra written especially for Gerstein. Deutsche Grammophon’s world première live recording release of the new work captured in Boston was followed shortly by Gerstein’s own release on myrios classics of Adès compositions. Alongside further premières of the Piano Concerto over the 2020-21 season in Vienna, Seoul, Hamburg and Chicago, Gerstein will this season première another new concerto written especially for him, this time by Thomas Larcher. Co-commissioned by the Berlin, Czech and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras and Vienna Konzerthaus, Gerstein will present Larcher’s new work first in Prague, Vienna and Bratislava with Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic; and then at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw with the Karina Canellakis and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Gerstein has worked with Bychkov since 2007, and, in addition to making his debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw under Bychkov’s baton, was invited by the conductor to record Tchaikovsky’s three Piano Concertos live in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic as part of their Tchaikovsky Project boxset released by Decca Classics. For the start of the Royal Concertgebouw’s new season this autumn, Gerstein will once again join Bychkov for Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto.
A long-time believer in the role of teaching in the life of a musician, Kirill Gerstein took up the post of Professor of Piano at Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Hochschule in October 2018 following ten years of leading piano classes at the Stuttgart Musik Hochschule. He is also on the faculty of Kronberg Academy’s Sir András Schiff Performance Programme for Young Artists. In response to the impact of the global pandemic, Gerstein launched a series of free and open online seminars titled Kirill Gerstein invites with the Hanns Eisler Academy featuring conversations with leading musicians, musicologists and philosophers. The series opened with Andreas Staier and guest speakers included Iván Fischer, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Adès, Brad Mehldau, Anthony Fogg and Paul Boghossian. Gerstein’s flexibility and breadth of knowledge of the repertoire were also successfully put to work with changes in repertoire for already scheduled concerts including from Adès to Schoenberg with the Swedish Radio Symphony, as well as invitations from Daniel Hope to curate TV recital programmes for his Hope@Home on tour series in Berlin and Bonn at short notice.
Kirill Gerstein has collaborated with myrios classics since 2010 and his thoughtfully curated recording projects for the independent label have most recently included 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; The Gershwin Moment with the St Louis Symphony and David Robertson, plus 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 as the youngest student to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. As his focus turned back 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 Timo Andres, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Oliver Knussen and Brad Mehldau.
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Tradition Renewed – Deutsche Grammophon releases Kirill Gerstein’s live recording of Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN OR TO DOWNLOAD THE RECORDING “Adès may be the most sought-after musician of our time … he has written a tonal piece that is simultaneously thoughtful and musical, rooted in the past but forward-looking, and also crowd-pleasing…” The Wall Street...
Music Director Semyon Bychkov and Czech Philharmonic’s seven-disc recording collection “The Tchaikovsky Project” to be released on Decca Classics on 30 August
Inspired by his lifelong passion for the music of Tchaikovsky, Semyon Bychkov partnered with the Czech Philharmonic three years ago to launch The Tchaikovsky Project, an in-depth multi-season exploration of the composer’s music through concerts and Mr. Bychkov’s...
Kathryn and the team at EMM are thrilled to announce that celebrated pianist, Kirill Gerstein, has joined us for worldwide general management.