Gerstein has rapidly ascended into classical music’s highest ranks. His early training and experience in jazz has contributed an important element to his interpretive style, inspiring an energetic and expressive musical personality that distinguishes his playing. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist.

Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Gerstein studied piano at a special music school for gifted children and while studying classical music, taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. Gerstein came to the United States at 14 to study jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. After completing his studies in three years, Gerstein turned his focus back to classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Masters of Music degrees by the age of 20. An American citizen since 2003, Gerstein now divides his time between the United States and Germany, where he has been a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart since 2006.

The Rawlins Fall Visiting Artist Series has been in existence since 1996 thanks to a generous bequest by the late Marge Rawlins, a USD alumna. Rawlins wished to see USD music students have the same opportunities to hear and work with internationally-known concert pianists that large schools in her adopted home state of California provide regularly. The Fall Visiting Artist Series has been host to a number of high profile artists such as Stephen Hough, Angela Hewitt, Nelita True, Petronel Malan, John O’Conor and many others. Each of the artists spends time coaching USD piano students in master classes on campus, providing the students with invaluable musical insights and information.For more information, contact Susanne Skyrm at or by calling 677-5723.

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