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. Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth, his performances are a perpetual source of awe. “He has everything and more … tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” marveled pianist Martha Argerich. With Transcendental, the Liszt collection that marked his third title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Album of 2018. As The Times of London notes, he is “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”
Fall 2020 brought the release of Silver Age, an album of Russian solo and orchestral piano music by Scriabin, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, recorded with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. This followed 2019’s Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival, for which Trifonov received a 2021 Grammy nomination. Presenting the composer’s First and Third Concertos, Arrival represents the third volume of the Deutsche Grammophon series he recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Nézet-Séguin, following Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, named BBC Music’s 2019 Concerto Recording of the Year, and Rachmaninov: Variations, a 2015 Grammy nominee. Deutsche Grammophon has also issued Chopin Evocations, which pairs the composer’s works with those by the 20th-century composers he influenced, and Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, the pianist’s first recording as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist; capturing Trifonov’s sold-out 2013 Carnegie Hall recital debut live, the album scored him his first Grammy nomination.
Highlights of recent seasons include a multi-faceted, season-long tenure as 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic, featuring a collaboration with Jaap van Zweden and the New York premiere of Trifonov’s own Piano Quintet, and a seven-concert, season-long Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series, crowned by a performance of the pianist’s own piano concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. As well as curating similar series at the Vienna Konzerthaus and in San Francisco, Trifonov played Tchaikovsky’s First under Muti in the historic gala finale of the Chicago Symphony’s 125th-anniversary celebrations; launched the New York Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season; headlined complete Rachmaninoff concerto cycles at the New York Philharmonic’s Rachmaninoff Festival and with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic; undertook season-long residencies with the Berlin Philharmonic and at Vienna’s Musikverein, where he appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic and gave the Austrian premiere of his own Piano Concerto; and headlined the Berlin Philharmonic’s famous New Year’s Eve concert under Sir Simon Rattle. The pianist has given Asian tours with the Cleveland Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and European tours 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, Trifonov has given solo recitals at venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; Boston’s Celebrity Series; London’s Barbican, Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls; Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series); Berlin’s Philharmonie; Munich’s Herkulessaal; Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau; Zurich’s Tonhalle; the Lucerne Piano Festival; the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Théâtre des Champs Élysées and Auditorium du Louvre in Paris; Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica; Tokyo’s Opera City; the Seoul Arts Center; and Melbourne’s Recital Centre.
It was during the 2010-11 season that 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, 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.”
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