Semyon Bychkov, conductor
Last Sunday at Tanglewood, Kirill Gerstein performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Charles Dutoit. The Boston Globe wrote that Kirill “brought a muscular intensity and seriousness of purpose to this flashiest of works. Gerstein’s technique is formidable, but he used it not to break any land speed records but to find the constructive rigor and thoughtfulness in music whose impact can sometimes be blunted by its own popularity.”
This praise was echoed by The Berkshire Eagle: “The imaginative solo performance … looked beyond athletic display to the lyrical impulse that makes the work a rhapsody and not just a set of showy variations.”
You can stream the full concert, which also included Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture and Respighi’s Rome trilogy, on WGBH. Kirill’s performance begins at 17:51.
The remarkable pianist Kirill Gerstein brings technical assurance, characteristic subtlety and a gift for instilling unease to two canonical collections of miniatures — Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and Schumann’s “Carnaval” — often played more for their glittering surfaces than their unsettling depths. Well, Mr. Gerstein gets down deep.
The New York Times, July 16, 2014
Kirill Gerstein performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the San Diego Symphony and conductor Jahja Ling last weekend to unanimous acclaim. Playing with “unwavering focus and ardor” (San Diego Story), Kirill’s performace was hailed as “an interpretation that was remarkably alive, that seemed a constant reinvention of the music” (U-T San Diego). The praise was echoed by Bachtrack, which wrote, “His thrilling rendering of this most demanding masterpiece provided inarguable proof not only of his remarkable talent and musical accomplishment, but also of a unique personality that captivated the audience throughout his performance.”
Imaginary Pictures, to be released June 3 in the U.K. and June 10 in the U.S. on Myrios Classics, features Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Schumann’s Carnaval. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for details on an upcoming CD giveaway!
On March 21 in Helsinki, Kirill performed in Berg’s Kammerkonzert (Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin with 13 Wind Instruments) with violinist Leila Josefowicz and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Oliver Knussen.
The live video recording of the performance is now available online, giving listeners worldwide a unique opportunity to watch, hear, and experience this piece intimately.
The video is available online until April 19.
Kirill returns to Toledo to perform Brahms’ two piano concertos in back-to-back concerts on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1 with conductor Stefan Sanderling and the Toledo Symphony.
In a preview by The Toledo Blade, Kirill said, “Hearing both concertos presents a very complete portrait of Brahms. The first concerto is a youthful, hyper-romantic, and dramatic work; the second is still dramatic but with a certain classical perfection to its form.”
The Blade said, “Gerstein is a hot property these days. After winning the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award, a unique and lucrative prize given every four years to a pianist of promise, the Russian-born prodigy, who had developed both classical and jazz chops, has been busy.
“He commissioned new boundary-crossing works and has performed with nearly every major orchestra in the United States and abroad. He’ll be featured soloist at this year’s Gilmore Award ceremonies in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he’ll perform with singer Storm Large.”
Kirill is looking forward to performing in Toledo again.
“I enjoy coming to Toledo,” said Gerstein. “I like the orchestra, the hall, and the museum.”