Kirill Gerstein and Garrick Ohlsson Feb. 27

WashU's Great Artists Series resumes with internationally acclaimed piano duo

Pianists Kirill Gerstein (left) and Garrick Ohlsson will perform works by Adès, Busoni, Rachmaninoff and Ravel Feb. 27. (Photos: Marco Borggreve and Dario Acosta)

Garrick Ohlsson is a “marvel of virtuosity” (New York Review of Books). Kirill Gerstein is “one of today’s smartest musical thinkers” (Limelight.) 

On Feb. 27, these renowned pianists will join forces for a special one-night-only performance at Washington University in St. Louis. The concert is presented as part of the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences’ Great Artists Series, which hosts intimate recitals with some of the brightest stars in contemporary classical music.

The program will open with a concert paraphrase of “Powder Her Face” (1995), the chamber opera by contemporary British composer Thomas Adès, followed by “Symphonic Dances” (1940), the last major work by exiled Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. After intermission, the program will continue with the two-piano arrangement of Ferruccio Busoni’s 12-part “Fantasia Contrappuntistica” (1910). Concluding the evening will be Maurice Ravel’s whirling “choreographic poem” “La Valse” (1920).

The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in Washington University’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. Single tickets are $37-40, or $32-35 for Washington University faculty and staff, and $15 for students and children.

Tickets are available through the Edison Theater Box Office, 314-935-6543, or at

Kirill Gerstein (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

About Kirill Gerstein and Garrick Ohlsson

Born in the former Soviet Union, Gerstein is an American citizen, now based in Berlin, who “belongs to the class of the most renowned classical pianists” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). In 2020, his decade long relationship with composer Thomas Adès resulted in the release of two recordings, including the Grammy-nominated “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” which Adès wrote for Gerstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other recordings include “Mozart: Sonatas for Piano Four Hands, with Ferenc Rados; “Strauss: Enoch Arden” with the late actor Bruno Ganz; and “The Gershwin Moment” with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony.

Ohlsson, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Chopin, is “justly acclaimed as a titanic force at the keyboard” ( His repertoire ranges from Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert to 21st century works, many commissioned for him. His numerous honors include an Avery Fisher Prize and a Grammy Award for his complete Beethoven Sonatas. In 1970, Ohlsson took first prize at Warsaw’s International Chopin Competition — the only American to have done so. In 2018, he launched an ambitious project spread over multiple seasons exploring the complete solo piano works of Brahms.

Read their full bios here.

Garrick Ohlsson (Photo: Kacper Pempel)

Great Artists Series

Following Ohlsson and Gerstein, the 2022 Great Artists Series will continue April 3 with the Grammy Award-winning Attacca Quartet and April 24 with “sumptuously voiced soprano” (New York Times) Angel Blue. South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho will conclude the series May 1.

The E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall is located in the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard.  To ensure the safety of all concert-goers, the concert hall will be kept at reduced capacity and campus visitors must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter.

For more information about campus COVID-19 policies, visit the WashU Together website.

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