Pianist Kirill Gerstein provides keyboard fireworks as conductor Giancarlo Guerrero supplies hip-swinging funMay 16th, 2013
“To twist a cliché, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and guest pianist Kirill Gerstein taught an early-evening audience on Wednesday that you can teach an old warhorse new tricks.
“The crowd at Roy Thomson Hall rose boisterously to its feet as the Russian-born pianist finished playing Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky’s perennially popular Piano Concerto No. 1 because he managed to augment this big, three-movement showpiece from 1875 with a breath of fresh lyricism to go with the keyboard fireworks.”
The Toronto Star, May 15, 2013
“And then came the biggie, the world’s greatest piano concerto (Brahms Two), performed by a stand-in soloist, no less, and securing a hugely life-affirming reading. Kirill Gerstein was the pianist…His grip over the solo writing’s complex harmonic and contrapuntal textures was superb, his sense of direction in phrasing convincing in its inevitability.”
Birmingham Post, April 19, 2013
“…Kirill Gerstein joined the band for Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and he was a perfect partner, astonishingly precise in his crashing chords, high filigrees and carefully calibrated bass. In the Andante he performed magnificently one of the pianist’s great magic tricks, playing mezzo-forte to sound clearly through the hall while touching the keys with such delicacy as to suggest the most intimate pianissimo.
“As if that weren’t enough, Gerstein returned to play Gershwin, fantastically, for an encore–and as if that too weren’t enough, it was “Summertime,” with Storm Large singing. Yes, that really happened, and it was fabulous.”
The Oregonian, March 24, 2013
“One thing I came to with jazz is a feeling, and one thing I keep in my mind, is that classical and jazz are so close by,” he said. “They have been politicized to an extent as being different disciplines. But there is a lot more structure in jazz than one would suppose, and more possibility for improvisation and being creative in interpretation in classical than one can imagine.”
Of his program at Troy, he said, “The idea of the program, even though it travels through the centuries and can look on paper as a very colorful and diverse program, it has this unifying theme of what composers use to construct what are called variations.”
From the Troy Record, March 20, 2013
It sometimes seems as though the world of classical music doesn’t change. Most of the music is from a canon that may be hundreds of years old; most of the time the musicians are still formally clad, the men in the evening dress of a century ago.
In one important area, however, new ways of doing things are starting to appear. Technology is changing the ways in which musicians rehearse and perform.
Pianist Kirill Gerstein sparked intermission discussions late last year when he performed Thomas Adès concerto “Seven Days” with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra using an iPad with a wireless foot pedal in lieu of a conventional score.
In an interview, Gerstein said he’s been using his iPad for 2½ years, the first, he thinks, among classical pianists. He uses it with contemporary music, where memorization is not expected, and in chamber music.
- St. Louis Post Dispatch, February 10, 2013
Preview: Cleveland Chamber Music Society: a conversation with Kirill Gerstein before his recital with Steven IsserlisJanuary 23rd, 2013
As the saying goes, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” or perhaps more apropos to the world of artistic collaborations, “if you’ve got a good thing going, don’t change.” Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Kirill Gerstein will continue a long partnership on Tuesday, January 29 at 7:30 pm in Plymouth Church, when the Cleveland Chamber Music Society presents them in recital. The program brings together music by 19th and 20th century composers including Liszt’s Romance oubliée and Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, Busoni’s Kultaselle, variations on aFinnish folksong, Brahms’s Sonata No. 1 in E minor and Bartók’s Rhapsody, as well as Brahms’s Sonata No. 2 in F-major.
Although the first collaboration between Isserlis and Gerstein occurred quite by accident, the artistic chemistry was evident, and from that time the two musicians have continued to perform together whenever their schedules allow. “Yes, we started playing by complete mistake,” Kirill Gerstein says, “but it soon grew into an important and good musical friendship.”
- Cleveland Classical, January 22, 2013