Grammy Award-winning Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov—Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year—has made a spectacular ascent of the classical music world, as a solo artist, champion of the concerto repertoire, chamber and vocal collaborator, and composer. His performances are a perpetual source of awe, combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth. “He has everything and more,” marveled pianist Martha Argerich, “…tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that.” As The Times of London notes, he is:
“…without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”
Last season, Mr. Trifonov played eleven concertos by composers ranging from Bach to Schnittke. Concertos by Beethoven were especially prominent in his programming. Beyond embarking on a high-profile European tour of the composer’s Triple Concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mr. Trifonov performed Beethoven’s First with the National Symphony, his Third with the Berlin Philharmonic, and both the First and Third with the Taiwan National Symphony. He also performed Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Taiwan National Symphony, and Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Further collaborations featured Mr. Trifonov and music by several of his Russian compatriots, including Prokofiev’s First Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Schnittke’s Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. He also performed Prokofiev’s Second Concerto with the Chicago Symphony and Poland’s NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic; Shostakovich’s First Concerto in Prague and Vienna with the Czech Philharmonic; and Stravinsky’s Concerto in Vienna, Moscow, and St. Petersburg with the Mariinsky Orchestra.
In recital, the pianist toured his acclaimed “Decades” program in Lugano, Berlin, and with the Salzburg Festival last year. He gave all-Bach recitals in Taipei, Boston, Palm Beach, and Aspen; played Szymanowski, Weber, and Brahms in France and Spain; and appeared in Warsaw and embarked on a spring tour of China. To round out the season, he gave duo recitals with cellist Gautier Capuçon in London, Vienna, and other destinations in Europe.
Other highlights of recent seasons include Mr. Trifonov performance of Scriabin’s Piano Concerto under Jaap van Zweden, which initiated a season-long tenure as Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic, where he presented the New York premiere of his own Piano Quintet. He reprised the Scriabin concerto for his return to the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, with whom he reunited for Tchaikovsky with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other orchestral highlights included Beethoven’s First and Fifth Piano Concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as heard on the pianist’s DG Rachmaninov series. He recently toured a solo program of Bach transcriptions and The Art of Fugue to New York’s Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and California’s Soka Performing Arts Center, and partnered with his mentor and fellow pianist Sergei Babayan at Carnegie Hall, Cornell University, Eastman School of Music, and in Dortmund, Germany. Before that, Mr. Trifonov was included in a seven-concert, season-long Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series, crowned by a performance of his own piano concerto with the Mariinsky Orchestra, and curated similar series at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in San Francisco. His other notable appearances include playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the historic gala finale of the Chicago Symphony’s 125th-anniversary celebrations, launching the New York Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season, undertaking season-long residencies with the Berlin Philharmonic and at Vienna’s Musikverein, and headlining the Berlin Philharmonic’s famous New Year’s Eve concert.
Mr. Trifonov has toured worldwide with the finest orchestras, including in Asia with the Cleveland Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia and in Europe with the London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and La Scala Orchestra. Since making solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall, and Paris’s Salle Pleyel in 2012-13, Mr. Trifonov has appeared in renowned venues across the globe, including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; London’s Barbican Centre, Royal Festival Hall, and Queen Elizabeth Halls; Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; Munich’s Herkulessaal; Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau; the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels; and the Théâtre des Champs Élysées and Auditorium du Louvre in Paris.
A decorated recording artist, Mr. Trifonov won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Album of 2018 with Transcendental. His acclaimed three-volume series of Rachmaninov works, recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra, include the 2019 release Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival; Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, which was named BBC Music’s 2019 Concerto Recording of the Year; and Rachmaninov: Variations, which was a 2015 Grammy nominee. His 2013 release, Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, captured Mr. Trifonov’s sold-out recital debut at the venue and earned him his first Grammy nomination. His discography also includes recordings of works by Chopin and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Mariinsky Orchestra.
It was during the 2010-11 season that Mr. Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix—an additional honor bestowed on the best overall competitor in any category—in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Franco Abbiati Prize for Best Instrumental Soloist by Italy’s foremost music critics, and in 2016 he was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year.
Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, Mr. Trifonov began his musical training at the age of five and went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition, and continues to write for piano, chamber ensemble, and orchestra. When he premiered his own Piano Concerto, the Cleveland Plain Dealer marveled: “Even having seen it, one cannot quite believe it. Such is the artistry of pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov.”