Great Artists Series '22: Kirill Gerstein and Garrick Ohlsson, piano duo
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Symphonic Dances by Sergei Rachmaninoff
I. Non Allegro
II. Andante con moto. Tempo di Valse
III. Lento assai—Allegro vivace
Fantasia Contrappuntistica, BV 256 by Ferruccio Busoni
Chorale Prelude 'Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr'
La Valse (1920) by Maurice Ravel
“What a sound! Ohlsson is famous for that great sonority, though he never seems to be working very hard to produce it. There are no histrionics, no flailing or thumping or grandstanding, just an incredible technique with razor-sharp accuracy, producing a sound so lush it almost glistens.” - THE SEATTLE TIMES
“Kirill Gerstein’s playing was flat-out fabulous, and he received the kind of ovation he richly deserved.” - CLEVELAND CLASSICAL
Pianist Kirill Gerstein’s heritage combines the traditions of Russian, American and Central European music-making with an insatiable curiosity. These qualities and the relationships that he has developed with orchestras, conductors, instrumentalists, singers and composers, have led him to explore a huge spectrum of repertoire both new and old. From Bach to Adès, Gerstein's playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity, and an energetic, imaginative musical presence that places him at the top of his profession.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Gerstein is an American citizen based in Berlin. His career is similarly international with world-wide performances ranging from concerts with the Chicago and Boston Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, London Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, to recitals in London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and New York. A long-time believer in the role of teaching, Kirill Gerstein is currently on the faculty of Kronberg Academy and Professor of Piano at Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Hochschule. Under the auspices of Kronberg Academy, his series of free and open online seminars entitled Kirill Gerstein invites is now into its third season, featuring conversations with leading musicians, artists, and thinkers. Guest speakers to date have included Andreas Staier, Brad Melhdau, Thomas Adès, Iván Fischer, Alex Ross, Elizabeth Wilson, Simon & Gerard McBurney, Robert Levin, Reinhard Goebel, Simon Callow. Emma Smith, Deborah Borda, Rafael Viñoly, Sir Antonio Pappano and Samuel Jay Keyser.
Over the last year, Gerstein’s decade long relationship with Thomas Adès resulted in the release of two recordings: the world première of Adès’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra written especially for Gerstein released by Deutsche Grammophon; and a compendium of Thomas Adès’s works for piano on myrios classics. Both discs garnered an impressive series of accolades which included a 2021 International Classical Music Award, a 2020 Gramophone Award and three GRAMMY Award nominations. In May this year in Amsterdam, Gerstein premièred another new concerto written especially for him, this time by the Austrian composer Thomas Larcher, co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Vienna Konzerthaus.
Kirill Gerstein’s latest release is a recording of Mozart Four-Hand Piano Sonatas with his mentor of 17-years, Ferenc Rados, for myrios classics. He first collaborated with the label in 2010 and, through the partnership has been able to realise many thoughtfully curated projects including Strauss’s Enoch Arden with the Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire; Downfall), recorded shortly before the actor’s death in February 2019; Busoni’s monumental Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo; and The Gershwin Moment with the St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson, Gerstein’s jazz mentor Gary Burton and Storm Large. Gerstein has additionally recorded Scriabin with the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko for LAWO Classics; and Tchaikovsky with Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic as part of The Tchaikovsky Project released by Decca Classics.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Kirill Gerstein attended one of the country’s special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ record collection. Following a chance encounter with jazz legend Gary Burton in St. Petersburg when he was 14, he was invited as the youngest student to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied jazz piano in tandem with his classical piano studies. At the age of 16, Gerstein decided to focus on classical music completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees with Solomon Mikowsky at New York’s Manhattan School of Music, followed by further studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, First Prize winner at the 10th Arthur Rubinstein Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant holder. In May 2021, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire ranging over the entire piano literature and he has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century.
In 2018/19 season he launched an ambitious project spread over multiple seasons exploring the complete solo piano works of Brahms in four programs to be heard in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Los Angeles, London and a number of cities across North America. A frequent guest with the orchestras in Australia, Mr. Ohlsson has recently visited Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart as well as the New Zealand Symphony in Wellington and Auckland. In February 2020 he accomplished a seven city recital tour across Australia just prior to the closure of the concert world due to Covid-19. Since that time and as a faculty member of San Francisco Conservatory of Music he has been able to contribute to keeping music alive for a number of organizations with live or recorded recital streams including a duo program with Kirill Gerstein with whom he will tour the US in winter 2022. With the re-opening of concert activity in the US in summer 2021 he appeared with the Indianapolis and Cleveland orchestras, in recital in San Francisco, Brevard Festival and 4 Brahms recitals at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. The 21/22 season began with the KBS orchestra, Seoul followed by Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle symphonies, BBC Glasgow and European orchestras in Prague, Hamburg, Lyon and St. Petersburg. In recital he can be heard in Los Angeles, Houston, Kansas City as well as Poland, Germany and England.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Ohlsson has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Tokyo and Takacs string quartets, including most recently Boston Chamber Players on tour in Europe. Together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier, he is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG Trio. Passionate about singing and singers, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared in recital with such legendary artists as Magda Olivero, Jessye Norman, and Ewa Podleś. Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, Hyperion and Virgin Classics labels.
A native of White Plains, N.Y., Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School, in New York City. He has been awarded first prizes in the Busoni and Montreal Piano competitions, the Gold Medal at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1970), the Avery Fisher Prize (1994), the University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor, MI (1998), the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (2014), and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for cultural merit from the Polish Deputy Culture Minister.
Kirill Gerstein appears courtesy of CM Artists, New York, NY. Garrick Ohlsson is represented by Opus 3 Artists, New York, NY.
**All programs subject to change
Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. www.missouriartscouncil.org
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