Russian-born pianist gains global recognition

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One of the world’s most promising pianists, Russian-born Kirill Gerstein, has won the Gilmore Artist Award, presented to an international pianist of any age and nationality who is “deemed worthy of a global career”.

Apart from praise and recognition, the award comes with some of the most generous financial support given in the musical arts – a $300,000 paycheck.

Gerstein, 30, is originally from southwestern Russia and has studied piano since childhood.

He moved to the US as a teenager to continue his studies in jazz piano which was his main passion at the time. Gerstein became the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

But the gifted pianist never put classical music on the back burner and so he eventually moved to New York to attend the Manhattan School of Music.

An American citizen since 2003, Gerstein has also become a regular in Germany, where he is a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart.

The Russian-born musician has a roster of music awards. However, unlike winners of other major musical competitions, the Gilmore Artist is chosen through a “noncompetitive” selection, in the sense that musicians under scrutiny don’t even know that they have been nominated.

Nominations are gathered from a range of sources, including recordings and independent assessments made by a designated group of international musical performers and educators.