Get to know pianist Kirill Gerstein, who makes his Mostly Mozart debut this week with a poetic program celebrating the creative spark shared by virtuoso musician Clara Schumann; her husband, Robert Schumann; and their friend Johannes Brahms. Learn more about the program.

First instrument you played?
Piano, and it stayed the only instrument—challenging enough.

Top three influences, musical or otherwise?
My parents, my teachers, my wife, my children.

Last live performance you saw?
Thomas Zehetmair playing the Beethoven violin concerto at Mostly Mozart with Andrew Manze conducting. Great performance!

Favorite city to play?
Why choose?

First live performance you remember seeing?
I remember sleeping through a number of concerts as a three-year-old in my home city in Russia. Awake in the first and last movements, though.

Artist you'd most like to meet, past or present?
Busoni and Rachmaninoff. 

First paying gig?
Mozart K. 488 concerto in Poland when I was 11.

Current projects?
A number of concerts, and the upcoming recording releases of Brahms's piano quintet and an album of Gershwin's music this winter.

Places you'd most like to visit?
Iceland, Fiji, Alaska.

First time you realized you wanted to be a musician?
I always felt that I'd like to do something with music. Being a pianist came later, though.

What you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
Ignorance of the path ahead can be blissful. Otherwise one might not embark on the journey.

Practice tips?
I'm still figuring that one out.

You hope someone comes away from one of your shows feeling….?
Having been entertained by the piece.

What do you want to be when you "grow up"?