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Thomas Adès, Piano
Kirill Gerstein, Piano

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
Thomas Adès by Brian Voce, Kirill Gerstein by Marco Borggreve
Thomas Adès is a fascinating composer and a pianist of considerable talent known for his “incisive, brittle, and commanding performances” (The New York Times). He partners with Kirill Gerstein, lauded by The New York Times for the “spontaneity and scintillating sound” of his playing, in a program of two-piano works. They play a rarely heard Shostakovich arrangement of a Stravinsky work, Debussy favorites, Ravel’s hypnotic waltz, and Adès’s paraphrase on music from his popular opera, Powder Her Face.

Thomas Adès is also performing March 20.

Kirill Gerstein is also performing March 20.


Thomas Adès, Piano
Kirill Gerstein, Piano


DEBUSSY En blanc et noir

STRAVINSKY Symphony of Psalms (transcr. Shostakovich)

LUTOSŁAWSKI Variations on a Theme by Paganini

DEBUSSY Lindaraja

THOMAS ADÈS Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face for Two Pianos (NY Premiere)

RAVEL La valse for Two Pianos

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

Pre-Concert Talk

Pre-concert talk at 6:30 PM: Kirill Gerstein in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Senior Director and Artistic Adviser, Carnegie Hall.

At a Glance

The genre of the piano duet arose in Mozart’s day and came to maturity in the 19th century, with the flourishing culture of amateur music making and “house music” intended for domestic use. The term encompasses both works for two pianos and those designed for two players seated side by side at a single keyboard. The latter are conventionally designated “piano four hands,” as if they were meant to be played by a single, polydactyl performer. Much of the extensive piano duo literature predates the era of sound recordings and consists of more or less straightforward arrangements, or “reductions,” of operas and orchestral works.

Tonight’s wide-ranging program features a pair of characteristically colorful works that Debussy conceived for two pianos—the misleadingly titled En blanc et noir (In Black and White) and the sultry, Spanish-inspired Lindaraja—as well as the original keyboard incarnation of Ravel’s riotous orchestral extravaganza La valse. Like Ravel, Stravinsky habitually composed at the piano, and the often brittle brilliance of his Symphony of Psalms is faithfully captured in Shostakovich’s workmanlike transcription. Lutosławski took greater liberties in his freewheeling variations on Paganini’s celebrated Caprice No. 24 for solo violin, while Thomas Adès evokes the 19th-century tradition of the concert paraphrase in four would-be scenes from his chamber opera Powder Her Face.


Thomas Adès

British composer Thomas Adès is one of the foremost musicians of his generation. His opera The Tempest has been produced in London, Vienna, New York, and many other cities around the  ...

British composer Thomas Adès is one of the foremost musicians of his generation. His opera The Tempest has been produced in London, Vienna, New York, and many other cities around the world. His newest opera, The Exterminating Angel, debuted in the US at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017, after successful premieres at the 2016 Salzburg Festival as well as at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Commissions for large-scale orchestral works—including In Seven Days, Polaris, Tevot, and Totentanz—have come from the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic, as well as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Barbican Centre, and other major presenting institutions. Earlier this month, the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered his new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in Boston; the work receives its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall later this month, followed by its European premiere in Leipzig. In the summer of 2019, the Los Angeles Philharmonic—in collaboration with the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden—will premiere a new full-length ballet choreographed by Wayne McGregor.

Mr. Adès also maintains international careers both as a conductor and as a pianist. He has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He conducted the premiere of The Exterminating Angel at Salzburg, Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera. During the 2017–2018 season, he led concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. He currently serves as the first-ever artistic partner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; in addition to conducting, he appears with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, curates contemporary music programs, and teaches both in Boston and at Tanglewood. He frequently appears as a pianist in solo recitals or with colleagues such as tenor Ian Bostridge, cellist Steven Isserlis, and pianist Kirill Gerstein.

Mr. Adès’s many honors include the Grawemeyer Award for Asyla; Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards in the large-scale composition category for Asyla, The Tempest, and Tevot; the Ernst von Siemens Composers’ Prize for Arcadiana; and the British Composer Award for The Four Quarters. His CD recording of The Tempest
from the Royal Opera House won a Gramophone Award; his DVD of the production from the Metropolitan Opera was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année (2013), a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, and an ECHO Klassik Award for Music DVD Recording of the Year (2014). In 2015, he was awarded Denmark’s prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize.

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Kirill Gerstein

Pianist Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity and versatility has led to a powerful engagement with a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Thomas Adès, his playing is ...

Pianist Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity and versatility has led to a powerful engagement with a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Thomas Adès, his playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence, and virtuosity. Mr. Gerstein’s energetic and imaginative musical personality has rapidly taken him to the top of his profession.

Highlights of his 2018–2019 season include re-engagements with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra,
Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in addition to touring with the Czech Philharmonic to California. His summer festival appearances included his debut at the Grand Teton Music Festival and a return to Grant Park Music Festival.

Mr. Gerstein is also a frequent guest with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 2018–2019 season. His residency at Tanglewood this past summer included performances of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Thomas Adès’s In Seven Days, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

International highlights include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Vienna Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Mr. Gerstein also records Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos nos. 2 and 3 with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Semyon Bychkov for Decca.

Mr. Gerstein’s other North American engagements have included performances with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Houston Symphony. In addition, he has given recitals in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Princeton, Durham, and Washington, DC. In Europe, Mr. Gerstein has played with such prominent orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Oslo Philharmonic. He has performed recitals in Vienna, Paris, Prague, and Hamburg, and at such renowned venues as London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He has also appeared at the Salzburg, Verbier, Lucerne, and Edinburgh festivals, as well as The Proms.

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