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.
Highlights of Mr. Gerstein’s 2013-14 season in North America include subscription debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the Minnesota Orchestra; engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago, Saint Louis, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Houston symphonies; and return visits to the Aspen and Grant Park music festivals. Internationally, he will appear with the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and with the Czech Philharmonic, Finnish and Danish radio orchestras, Dresden Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome. This season in recital, he premieres a newly commissioned work by Timothy Andres, titled Old Friend. He also performs recitals in Toronto, Denver, Princeton, and at Duke University, and returns to Kalamazoo for the 2014 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival to give both classical and jazz concerts, including a performance with vocalist Storm Large from Pink Martini. In previous seasons, he has given recitals in Vancouver, Miami, Detroit, and at the Kennedy Center, New York’s 92nd St. Y, and with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in July 2005, and most recently appeared here in 2011.
Mr. Gerstein’s recording for Myrios Classics 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 a duo recital disc with violist Tabea Zimmermann. Mr. Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003. He is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.