Kirill Gerstein: I take a tablet between two sheets

Kirill Gerstein: I take a tablet between two sheets


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2016

The international pianist explains, exclusively for Slipped Disc, how he integrates an electronic score-reader into his practice and performance schedule.


kirill gerstein

I still very much prefer to learn from the printed paper score.

There are actually studies that people learn better from physical media than from the screen and I feel that palpably.

However, as a ‘reminder of the score’ in concert, the iPad is wonderful. Putting it inside the piano (which is possible with the new bigger iPad pro) allows me to take the music desk out of the piano. The music desk is usually quite a big alteration to the sound that the pianist hears whilst playing chamber music. The instrument also sounds better without the music desk.

And the intimate atmosphere of a chamber music group that develops in rehearsals is unchanged without the arrival of an extra person (page turner). Sometimes they are wonderful and sometimes…less than helpful.

So, there – just a little elaboration from me. BUT, I don’t think the printed score should go away and I hope it won’t. I think it is a matter of more options for specific purposes. The new Henle app is a fantastic venture of a traditional publisher and excellent engraving into the digital world.


Earlier: Is this the last stand for the printed score?


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    You are so right, Kirill. It’s actually amazing to stand outside of the piano toward the back of the instrument where the sounds travels from. The depth of resonance is quite staggering. I always say we sit at the worst possible place when we play because the sound never truly comes back to us at the bench the way one hears it everywhere else from the string case. I have to agree with you on physical vs. digital printouts. First, I tell my students it is illegal to make copies of printed music, but also the digital printout on screen can be different for some (not all) due to the lighting and graphic qualities for vision (again, not for all). I agree with you–physical music still provides a clear graphic for our vision which is ideal (a personal issue, for sure). Your idea to remove the music desk is great. My only fear about this over a physical page turner is any possible malfunction in the gadget. It is probably rare, and human page turning can also provide a mishap now and then. But this is definitely worth a try. It is probably the next generation page turning that we will all adhere to over time, like everything else technological.

  • RW2013 says:

    Looking forward to his Scriabin concerto in Berlin in October.

  • Joan Travé says:

    Does any one know how to hold the iPad pro (12.9″) ‘inside the piano’, without the music desk?

    Thank you!


    Also want to share here an amazing video that announces big changes for Orchestras :