Kirill Gerstein to Perform with New York Philharmonic, 10/17-19

Kirill Gerstein to Perform with New York Philharmonic, 10/17-19

Pianist Kirill Gerstein returns to New York for performances of orchestral and solo piano works spanning both the classical and jazz genres. Mr. Gerstein, who has cemented his reputation as an outstanding interpreter of Rachmaninoff, makes his subscription debut with the New York Philharmonic performing the composer'sRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini conducted by Semyon Bychkov on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m. Also on the program is Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11.

Mr. Gerstein's performances of Rachmaninoff's works for piano and orchestra have been met with considerable critical acclaim. After a recent performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, The Independent called Mr. Gerstein "one of the hottest guns in the game" and his playing "superb." Furthermore, after a performance of the Third Piano Concerto, The Oregonian stated that Mr. Gerstein was "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."

Mr. Gerstein has found an equal partner in Mr. Bychkov, who came to international attention in 1973 when he won the Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition. Mr. Bychkov has been praised for bringing out Rachmaninoff's "deep and rich sounds" by the San Francisco Chronicle. The two artists have performed together for more than six years with numerous orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and St. Louis Symphony, among others. Mr. Gerstein made his New York Philharmonic debut in 2011 and following the performance The New York Times wrote, "The Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein...played a brilliant, perceptive and stunningly fresh account of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto. At 31 Mr. Gerstein is emerging as one of the most respected pianist of his generation."

On Sunday, October 20 at 7:30 pm, Mr. Gerstein, who has studied jazz as well as classical piano, plays both genres side by side when he performs the New York premiere of jazz pianist Brad Mehldau's Variations on a Melancholy Theme paired with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition in recital at Le Poisson Rouge. Mr. Gerstein commissioned the Mehldau set with funds from his Gilmore Artist Award and premiered the work in 2012 at his alma mater, the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Though it incorporates improvisatory techniques, Mr. Mehldau's work takes root in classical forms. Mr. Mehldau wrote, "The theme to my set of variations has a two-part form, and each part is repeated: A1A2B1B2. It's a form that is used a lot for variations-Bach's Goldberg or Beethoven's Diabelli, for example. I adhered to this form, but varied and developed the material with each second pass through A and B. So unlike those great works, there are no 'repeats' in my score; that is, in praxis, no material is ever literally repeated note for note. Even in the opening theme, the harmony and the figuration around the melody is already developing in A2 and B2. This might be an impulse from my jazz background: Much of jazz uses forms that repeat their material at least once as its springboard for improvisation."