Kirill Gerstein was born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, where he attended one of the country's special music schools and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ record collection. He came to the US at age fourteen to study jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. At the age of sixteen he decided to focus 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 his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He continued his studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Mr. Gerstein was awarded first prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, and he received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award. In 2010, he received the Gilmore Artist Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Orchestral highlights this season include performances of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Boston Symphony, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety with the Nashville Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Saint Louis Symphony. He also makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut, performing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Internationally, he plays with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. In recital, he appears on Carnegie Hall’s Keyboard Virtuosos series in Zankel Hall and makes chamber appearances at the Lockenhaus Festival, Salzburg Festival, and Schubertiade in Austria, and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 2005.
Mr. Gerstein’s latest solo recording, which features Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Schumann’s Carnaval, was released by Myrios Classics in 2014. His previous album for Myrios, of solo piano works by Schumann, Liszt, and Oliver Knussen, was named as one of the ten best recordings of 2010 by The New York Times. This was followed by two duo recital discs with violist Tabea Zimmermann. He recently recorded Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and James Gaffigan to be released on Myrios in 2015. Mr. Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003. He is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.