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Kirill Gerstein’s spring 2011

Kirill Gerstein – winner of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award – has played milestone event after milestone event this season; his ever-upward trajectory continues this spring and summer, from intense solo recitals to high-profile concerto engagements.  On April 30 at San José State University, the Russian-born pianist plays Beethoven’s Op. 119 Bagatelles and Piano Sonata Op. 111 alongside the titanic Sonata in B minor by Liszt, whose bicentennial is this year.  Reviewing a concert last spring, the New York Times described Gerstein’s interpretation of the B-minor Sonata as “spellbinding,” as it balanced “a big, torrential sound in the work’s thunderous sections with crystalline – but still assertive – phrasing in the more introspective passages.”  On May 7, Gerstein reprises Beethoven’s Opp. 111 and 119 at New York’s 92nd Street Y, on a program shared with the august Tokyo String Quartet.  Following recital and concerto dates, and a tour with the Hagen Quartet across Europe to the Middle East, the pianist returns to Manhattan to play Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and conductor Bramwell Tovey at Lincoln Center on June 28-30.
Gerstein’s latest solo album, released in November 2010 by Myrios Classics, features Liszt’s B-minor Sonata along with Schumann’s Humoreske and the debut recording of contemporary British composer Oliver Knussen’s Ophelia’s Last Dance, which Gerstein premiered at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in May 2010.  The New York Times lauded the disc, praising his “exquisite technique, refined musicianship, and engrossing imagination.”  A National Public Radio feature singled out the pianist’s take on the Schumann: “Gerstein explains that the Humoresque portrays an ‘intimate tracing of Schumann’s emotional states.’  Throughout the five-movement work, Gerstein deftly interprets those emotions, ranging from light tenderness to virtuosic strength.”  The Los Angeles Times described his Liszt rendition as “thoughtfully lyrical” and his Knussen as “haunting.”
The present season has seen Gerstein perform high-profile concerto engagements across Europe and the Americas, from Shostakovich’s Second with Esa-Pekka Salonen in Wales to Brahms’s Second with Gustavo Dudamel in Venezuela.  A celebrated interpreter of Rachmaninoff, Gerstein wowed critics and audiences throughout North America with his performances of the composer’s works.  Of his account of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto earlier this month, the Ontario Record reported: “One of the great young pianists in the circuit, Kirill Gerstein was thoroughly up to the monumental task, not afraid to probe the depths of Russian expression – evoking the deepest of rumbles and crisp, clean upper-register chord clusters in rapid-fire succession – while remaining technically circumspect… .  A raucous audience bound to its feet, sad that the pianistic wonder had ended all too soon.”
Gerstein’s redesigned web site ( features a new multimedia section for audiovisual snapshots of his performances.  The video player presents such highlights as Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto with Charles Dutoit and Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, including an especially poetic slow movement; there is also footage of his performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety” and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Finally, there is film of him performing Schubert’s “Der Zwerg” with tenor Christoph Prégardien at the Verbier Festival.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Kirill Gerstein has been an American citizen since 2003.  He was elected into an elite circle of pianists in 2010 when he won the Gilmore Artist Award (previous winners include Leif Ove Andsnes, Piotr Anderszewski, and Ingrid Fliter).  His recording of Liszt, Schumann, and Knussen followed an esteemed 2004 album of Bach, Beethoven, Scriabin, and Gershwin/Wild, which was released on the Oehms Classics label.  Gerstein won First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Israel.  As the Boston Globe noted, he is “on the fast track to a major career, and he deserves to be.”
Kirill Gerstein: engagements, spring 2011
April 30
San José, California
Concert Hall, San José State University
Solo recital: Beethoven’s Eleven Bagatelles Op. 119 and Piano Sonata Op. 111; Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor
May 7
New York, NY
92nd Street Y
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; Bagatelles, Op. 119
May 13
Semur-en-Auxois, France
Solo recital
May 18-20
Liverpool, UK
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1
May 24-25
Tel Aviv, Israel
with the Hagen Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet
May 27
Neumarkt, Germany
with the Hagen Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet
May 28
Vienna, Austria
with the Hagen Quartet
Brahms: Piano Quintet
June 5
Stuttgart, Germany
Lieder recital with Robert Holl
June 9
London, UK
Philharmonia Orchestra / Yuri Temirkanov
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
June 12
Ittingen, Switzerland
Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Paganini
Busoni: Fantasia contrappuntistica for two pianos, with András Schiff
June 14
Aldeburgh, UK
Aldeburgh Festival, with Tabea Zimmermann, viola; Jörg Widmann, clarinet
June 28-30
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
New York Philharmonic / Bramwell Tovey
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
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