Four piano students in Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts will have an opportunity to perform in a master class with leading pianist Kirill Gerstein when he comes to campus March 19.
Gerstein will be in the area to perform with the Toledo Symphony March 20. At Bowling Green, he will give the master class from 2:30-4:30 p.m. that Friday in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.
In the world of music, his is an unusual story. He is the sixth winner of the Gilmore Artists Award—a $300,000 surprise grant given every four years to an artist to use to enhance their careers or their professional development. Equated to the MacArthur “genius” awards, the funds come with few strings attached.
The award is given to “a superb pianist and profound musician,” according to the Gilmore Foundation. It is administered by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Mich. In fact, one of the places the award judges observed Gerstein’s playing was in a previous Toledo Symphony performance.
Born in Russia, Gerstein began playing piano while very young. He studied jazz at Boston’s Berklee School of Music as a teenager before taking up classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music.
Now he plays around the world but, somewhat unusually for a performer of his stature, also has a teaching position at the conservatory in Stuttgart, Germany.
BGSU piano students had another rewarding master class recently with award-winning Irish pianist Barry Douglas, who was in Bowling Green to perform in the University’s Festival Series.
“He was vey impressed with the preparation of the students,” said Susan Knapp, director of public events in the music college. “He said he was also impressed with the creative safety the students demonstrated. I think that’s a great testament to what our faculty are building here.”