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Transcending: Q&A with Kirill Gerstein

March 6th, 2015

In advance of his performance in Zankel Hall on Monday, March 9, pianist Kirill Gerstein discusses what inspired his program of Liszt’s complete Transcendental Etudes, Bach’s Three-Part Inventions, and selections from Bartók’s Mikrokosmos.

To read the full interview, click here.


Kirill Gerstein’s new myrios classics CD featuring Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev due to be released on February 9

January 21st, 2015

Kirill’s new myrios classics disc, featuring the world première recording of the 1879 version of‪‎Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto alongside Prokofiev’s second Piano Concerto, is now available to pre-order on The CD is due to be released on Monday 9 February. Find a link and further information below, and watch this space for release dates in other countries.

“Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto is one of the most famous pieces in classical music. Surprisingly, the edited version of the concerto that has prevailed in the last hundred years of performances is one that Tchaikovsky neither approved nor conducted himself.”
Kirill Gerstein, October 2014

Kirill Gerstein’s first orchestral recording, to be released by myrios classics in February 2015, marks the world première recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto. Based on Tchaikovsky’s own conducting score from his last public concert, the new critical Urtext edition will be published in 2015 by the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, tying in with Tchaikovsky’s 175th anniversary and marking 140 years since the concerto’s world première in Boston, in 1875. For the recording, Kirill was granted special pre-publication access to the new Urtext edition.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 exists in three versions. Despite negative criticism from pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky had the first version of the concerto published in 1875. The second version, which has been recorded here, incorporated small practical adjustments to the piano part made by Tchaikovsky. It was published in 1879 and used by him in subsequent performances including in 1893 at the last concert he conducted when he paired the Piano Concerto with the world première of his Pathétique Symphony.

Tchaikovsky died within days of the performance, and the third version of the Concerto was published a year after his death. According to Kirill it “contains a number of editorial changes that differ from the text of Tchaikovsky’s own score, were not authorized by him and made posthumously.”

Illustrating some of the most noticeable differences, Kirill describes the familiar chords of the piano’s first entrance as they appear in the second version: “every second and third beat is arpeggiated, thus giving the melody a more differentiated and flexible metric impulse which alters the way the orchestra plays the theme of the introduction.” As Kirill explains there are many examples of different dynamics and articulations in Tchaikovsky’s own version that point to “a more lyrical and Schumannesque conception of the piece.” In his recording, Kirill restores a cut in the middle of the third movement which destabilized the structural balance of the movement in the third version. “In summary, the editorial changes made to the third version added a flavour of superficial brilliance to the piece which at the same time took away from its genuine musical character. The new edition allows us to turn back to Tchaikovsky’s original intentions.”

For this world première recording, on which Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto is paired with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16, Kirill is joined by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by James Gaffigan. The chequered history of Prokofiev’s second Piano Concerto also resulted in a second version. As Kirill explains, “composed in 1913, Prokofiev left the original manuscript of the second Concerto in Russia and during one of the cold winters during the tumultuous period of the Russian revolution the score was used by his neighbours for heating the stove. He reconstructed and revised the composition premièring the second version of the concerto in Paris in 1924.”

‘Imaginary Pictures’ included in New York Times Top Music Recordings of 2014

December 19th, 2014

Kirill’s latest album, Imaginary Pictures is a classical critics’ pick of “Top Music Recordings of 2014″ in The New York Times.

Read the full list here.

Kirill GersteinPhoto: Marco Borggreve

Live Broadcast of Kirill Gerstein’s concert with the Vienna Philharmonic

November 26th, 2014

Kirill had rave reviews for his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov over the weekend.  To listen again to his account of Shostakovich’s 2nd piano concerto on the ORF’s website click here.