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. With these awards he has commissioned works by Oliver Knussen, Brad Mehldau and Chick Corea.
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”. During the 11/12 season, he had a three-week residency with Houston Symphony Orchestra where he presented all four of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in a critically acclaimed event titled “RachFest”. In addition, he has worked with such orchestras as the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St Paul Chamber, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, NACO Ottawa and Vancouver Symphony orchestras among others.
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, Stavanger Symphony, SWR Freiburg, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Lyon, RAI Turin and Munich Philharmonic. 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 performed recitals in Paris, Boston, New York's Town Hall and 92nd Street Y, Prague, Hamburg, Cincinnati, Detroit, London's Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Portland Maine, Vancouver, Chicago Symphony Center, Washington's Kennedy Centre 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. Other festival appearances have included Chicago's Grant Park, the Mann Music Centre, Aspen and Blossom; this season he appears at Jerusalem and La Jolla festivals. As well as that in 12/13 Kirill Gerstein embarks on a European and US recital tour with Steven Isserlis and takes part in many other chamber engagements as part of a trio with Kolja Blacher and Clemens Hagen.
Orchestral highlights of the 12/13 season include performances at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo, Boston Symphony with Thomas Adès, NDR Symphony with Semyon Bychkov, Philharmonia Orchestra with Edward Gardner, Czech Philharmonic with Jiří Bělohlávek, RSO Berlin with Marek Janowski, Montreal Symphony with Jacques Lacombe, Czech Philharmonic with Jiří Bělohlávek, Philadelphia Orchestra with Giancarlo Guerrero, St. Louis Symphony with David Robertson, Lucerne Symphony with James Gaffigan, Tonkünster Orchestra of Lower Austria with Claus Peter Flor, Oregon Symphony Orchestra with Jun Märkl, Toronto Symphony with Giancarlo Guererro, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Dublin with Alan Buribayev, Melbourne Symphony with Tadaaki Otaka and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with Sebastian Lang-Lessing.
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 includes 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 recently.