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Kirill Gerstein’s summer 2011

This summer promises to be a hot one for pianist Kirill Gerstein, as the winner of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award makes his New York Philharmonic debut, gives a high-profile recital at the popular Greenwich Village club Le Poisson Rouge, and performs more recitals, chamber music and concertos from Canada and Colorado to the UK, Switzerland and Germany. Gerstein makes his New York Philharmonic debut for three performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Lincoln Center, with conductor Bramwell Tovey (June 28-30); he then joins the New York Phil to reprise the Tchaikovsky at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (July 28). Gerstein had a major success with Tchaikovsky’s concerto in May of this year, as he filled in with only 24 hours’ notice to help the UK’s Bournemouth Symphony cap its season with the work.
At his June 26 recital at Le Poisson Rouge, Gerstein will perform works by Brahms and Liszt, plus Oliver Knussen’s Ophelia’s Last Dance – a work that was commissioned by the Gilmore Festival from the British composer and premiered at the festival last year. On July 19, the pianist opens the Toronto Summer Music Festival with a recital featuring Beethoven’s Op. 111 Sonata and both books of the Brahms Variations on a Theme of Paganini, as well as Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, a work that Gerstein has performed widely in 2011, the composer’s bicentennial year. The New York Times has described Gerstein’s live interpretation of the B-minor Sonata as “spellbinding,” as it balances “a big, torrential sound in the work’s thunderous sections with crystalline – but still assertive – phrasing in the more introspective passages.”  
Early on in Gerstein’s career, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the pianist “shows that virtuosity and soulfulness can go hand in hand.” The glowing reviews keep coming, with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporting on a mid-April performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under Gilbert Varga: “Gerstein played with intensity, energy and precision, but that wasn’t the fun part. He captured the proper ornaments and stylistic details of the era in which the concerto is rooted, pushing those classical manners aside periodically to reveal glimpses of Beethoven’s frustration with, and rebellion against, the confines of that style. He gave a fascinating performance.”
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. The New York Times review of the disc praised Gerstein’s “exquisite technique, refined musicianship and engrossing imagination.” NPR singled out the pianist’s “intimate tracing of Schumann’s emotional states” in the Humoreske, from “light tenderness to virtuosic strength.” The Los Angeles Times described his Liszt rendition as “thoughtfully lyrical.”
The current season has seen Gerstein perform high-profile concerto engagements across Europe and the Americas, from Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto with Esa-Pekka Salonen in Wales to Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Gustavo Dudamel in Venezuela. A celebrated interpreter of Rachmaninoff, Gerstein wowed critics and audiences throughout North America with his performances of the Second Piano Concerto earlier this year. The Ontario Record reported: “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.”
Gerstein’s redesigned web site ( features a new multimedia section, with video highlights such 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 the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela led by Gustavo Dudamel. There is also 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 2010 Myrios Classics recording of Liszt, Schumann and Knussen followed an esteemed 2004 album of Bach, Beethoven, Scriabin and Gershwin/Wild, 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, summer 2011
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 26
New York, NY
Le Poisson Rouge
Recital: Works by Brahms, Liszt and Oliver Knussen
June 28-30
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
New York Philharmonic / Bramwell Tovey
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
July 19
Toronto, Canada
Koerner Hall
Recital: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Books I and II; Liszt: Sonata in B minor
July 23
Québec, Canada
Festival de Lanaudière
Philadelphia Orchestra / Charles Dutoit
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
July 28
Vail, Colorado
Vail Valley Music Festival
New York Philharmonic / Bramwell Tovey
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
July 30
Hitzacker, Germany
Göttingen Symphony Orchestra / Christoph Mueller
Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand; Liszt: Totentanz
August 14
Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Festival Orchestra / Ingo Metzmacher
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
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