In January 2010 Kirill Gerstein was named the recipient of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award, becoming only the sixth pianist to have been so honoured. The Gilmore Award is made to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses profound musicianship, charisma and the desire to sustain a career as a major international concert artist. He was also honoured by being awarded a 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant in April 2010.
Highlights of the 11/12 season include performances at the BBC Proms with the BBC SO and Semyon Bychkov, and elsewhere in Europe with MDR Leipzig, the WDR Cologne, Stavanger Symphony, Concerto Budapest, Dresden Philharmonic, SWR Freiburg, Lyon, RAI Turin and Munich Philharmonic. A European duo recital tour with Tabea Zimmermann is also planned (Frankfurt, Bonn, Madrid) as well as an extensive solo recital tour, making appearances in Milan, Vienna, London's Wigmore Hall, Portland Oregon and Miami among others. In North America he returns to the NACO Ottawa, Detroit Symphony, St Paul Chamber, San Francisco, Seattle, Utah, Atlanta and Houston Symphony Orchestras.
Kirill Gerstein's recent engagements in North America have included his hugely successful debut with the New York Philharmonic which was described by Antony Tommasini in the New York Times as "a brilliant, perceptive and stunningly fresh account of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto" and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. He has worked with the Cleveland, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, Columbus, Indianapolis and Vancouver Symphony orchestras among others. Festival appearances have included Chicago's Grant Park, the Mann Music Centre, Saratoga with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Aspen and Blossom with the Cleveland Orchestra. In recital he has played in Boston, New York's Town Hall and 92nd Street, Cincinnati, Detroit, Portland Maine, Vancouver and Washington's Kennedy Centre.
In Europe Kirill Gerstein has worked with such prominent orchestras as the Munich, Rotterdam and Royal Philharmonics, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskappelle, Zurich Tonhalle, the Finnish and Swedish Radio Orchestras, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. Further afield he has worked in Australia (where he will return in 2013), in Tokyo with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, and in Caracas with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel.
He has also performed recitals in Paris, Prague, Hamburg, London's Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls and at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He made his Salzburg Festival debut playing solo and two piano works with Andras Schiff and has also appeared at the Verbier, Lucerne and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Mr. Gerstein attended one of the country's special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents' extensive record collection. He went to the USA at 14 to continue his studies in jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston's Berklee College of Music, where he also continued working on the classical piano repertoire. Following his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood, he decided to focus mainly on classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. He continued his studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest.
Kirill Gerstein was awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award and was chosen as Carnegie Hall's "Rising Star" for the 2005/06 season. He became an American citizen in 2003 and is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.
His recital disc for the Myrios label that included works by Schumann, Liszt and Oliver Knussen was heralded by the New York Times as "one of the best recordings of 2010"; a duo recital disk with Tabea Zimmermann was also released last year.