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François-Xavier Roth (born Paris, 1971) is one of today’s most charismatic and enterprising conductors. He has been General Music Director of the City of Cologne since 2015, leading both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the first-ever Associate Artist of the Philharmonie de Paris.
With a reputation for inventive programming, his incisive approach and inspiring leadership are valued around the world. He is working with leading orchestras including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, Munich Philharmonic and Zurich Tonhalle. In 2018-19, he makes a return to the Berlin Philharmonic and appears with the San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland, Montreal Symphony and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras.
In 2003, he founded Les Siècles, an innovative orchestra performing contrasting and colourful programmes on modern and period instruments, often within the same concert. With Les Siècles, he has given concerts throughout Europe and toured to China and Japan. They recreated the original sound of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in its centenary year and, subsequently, with the Pina Bausch and Dominique Brun dance companies in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tokyo. Les Siècles was nominated for Gramophone Magazine’s first Orchestra of the Year Award.
After the success of their explorations of Post-Romanticism and Debussy in his centenary year, concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra in November and March feature a typically wide-range of works, from Haydn through Strauss, Bartók and Scriabin and, in the latest of his LSO Futures series, to the current sound world of Philippe Manoury, with the UK premiere of Ring.
In his fourth Cologne opera season, he leads new productions of Strauss’ Salome and Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, which marks the bicentenary of the composer’s birth in Cologne. With the Gürzenich Orchestra, he will feature Rhenish composer, Schumann, and explore works which disrupt traditional orchestral forms and think them anew. He continues a focus on the composer Philippe Manoury, with the premiere of Lab.Oratorium, the third of the trilogy of works commissioned by the orchestra, which will also be played in Hamburg and Paris. He will take the orchestra on tour to Turin, Zürich and Vienna, performing Mahler’s fifth symphony.
He recorded the complete tone poems of Richard Strauss while Principal Conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg (2011-2016). His recordings of the Stravinsky ballets, The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring with Les Siècles have also been widely acclaimed; the latter being awarded a German Record Critics’ Prize. They are currently recording a complete Ravel cycle for Harmonia Mundi. The first release, Daphnis and Chloé, won the Gramophone Awards Orchestral Album of the Year and was a Gramophone magazine Editor’s Choice and CD of the month in Rondo Magazine. The second album, including Ma mère l’Oye, won a Diapason d’Or on its release in March 2018. Mirages, a vocal recital with Sabine Devieilhe for Erato, won a Diapason d’Or and was Victoires de la Musique Classique Recording of the Year, a Gramophone Editor’s Choice and Sunday Times Album of the Week. His first recording with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, premiered in Cologne by the orchestra under Mahler in 1904, was released in December 2017 to enthusiastic reviews. Engagement with new audiences is an essential part of François-Xavier Roth’s work. With the Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, a unique orchestra-academy with its own collection of period instruments. Roth and Les Siècles devised Presto!, a television series for France 2, attracting weekly audiences of over three million. The Gürzenich Orchestra’s Ohrenauf! youth programme was recipient of a Junge Ohren Produktion Award. A tireless champion of contemporary music, he has been conductor of the ground-breaking LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme since its outset in 2005. Roth has premiered works by Yann Robin, Georg-Friedrich Haas, Hèctor Parra and Simon Steen-Anderson and collaborated with composers like Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Helmut Lachenmann.
For his achievements as musician, conductor, music director and teacher, François-Xavier Roth was last year created a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
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The multifaceted pianist Kirill Gerstein is rapidly ascending
into classical music's highest ranks. With a masterful technique,
discerning intelligence, and a musical curiosity that has led him
to explore repertoire spanning centuries and numerous styles, he
has proven to be one of today's most intriguing and versatile
Mr. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore
Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist
who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound
musicianship and charisma and who desires and can sustain a career
as a major international concert artist. Since receiving the award
in 2010, Mr. Gerstein has shared his prize through the
commissioning of boundary-crossing new works by Oliver Knussen,
Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, Timothy Andres and Alexander Goehr. Mr.
Gerstein was also awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein
Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist
Award and a 2010 Avery Fisher Grant.
Highlights of his 2015-16 season in North America include
performances of Scriabin's Prometheus: Poem of Fire with Ricardo
Muti and the Chicago Symphony, Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 with
Semyon Bychkov and the Berlin Philharmonic, Rachmaninoff Concerto
No. 1 with the Cleveland Orchestra, and playing both of George
Gershwin's piano concertos in the original jazz-band version to
open New York's 92nd Street Y's 15/16 season; re-engagements with
the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as with the Toronto,
Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Colorado, Utah and Oregon symphonies
and the National Arts Centre Orchestra; a tour to Australia and New
Zealand; his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw with concerts in
Amsterdam and Frankfurt; a European tour with the Czech
Philharmonic; and recitals in New York and Houston.
Kirill Gerstein's recent North American engagements include
performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia and
Minnesota Orchestras, and the Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco,
Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis and Montreal symphonies
among others. He has also recently appeared at the Aspen Music
Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chicago's Grant Park,
Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, Blossom with the Cleveland
Orchestra, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail
Valley Festival, Mann Music Center and Saratoga; and performed in
recital at New York's 92nd St. Y and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall,
the Kennedy Center and in Boston, Toronto, Berkeley, Vancouver,
Detroit, Miami and Princeton.
Internationally, Kirill Gerstein has played with such prominent
European orchestras as the Czech, Munich, Rotterdam and London
Philharmonics, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches
Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskappelle, Finnish Radio
Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna, WDR Symphony Orchestra
Cologne and the Zurich Tonhalle, as well as with the NHK Symphony
Orchestra in Tokyo. He has performed recitals in Paris, Prague,
Hamburg, London's Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, and at the
Liszt Academy in Budapest. He made his Salzburg Festival debut
playing solo and two piano works with Andras Schiff and has also
appeared at the Lucerne and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals as
well as at the Proms in London.
Mr. Gerstein's second solo recording featuring Mussorgsky's
Pictures at an Exhibition and Schumann's Carnaval was released by
Myrios Classics in June 2014. His first solo recording with works
by Schumann, Liszt and Oliver Knussen, also for Myrios, was chosen
by The New York Times as one of the best recordings of 2010. He
also collaborated with Tabea Zimmerman on two recordings of sonatas
for viola and piano for Myrios, released in February 2011 and
November 2012. His most recent recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano
Concerto No. 1 and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 with the
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was released by Myrios in
March 2015 and is the first recording using the new critical
edition recently completed by the Tchaikovsky Museum in Moscow
using the composer's original second version.
Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Mr. Gerstein studied piano at
a special music school for gifted children and taught himself to
play jazz by listening to his parents' extensive record collection.
At the age of 14, he came to the United States to study jazz piano
as the youngest student ever to attend Boston's Berklee College of
Music. After completing his studies in three years and following
his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood,
Mr. Gerstein turned his focus back to classical music and moved to
New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he
studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned both Bachelors and Masters
of Music degrees by the age of 20. He continued his studies in
Madrid with Dmitri Bashkirov and in Budapest with Ferenc Rados.
Mr. Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003 and divides his
time between the United States and Germany.
Kirill Gerstein, piano