Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) has made a spectacular ascent to classical music stardom since winning First Prize at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions in 2011 at the age of 20. 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,” stated pianist Martha Argerich, while the Financial Times observes, “What makes him such a phenomenon is the ecstatic quality he brings to his performances. … Small wonder every western capital is in thrall to him.”
Trifonov launches the 2014-15 season with the Seattle Symphony, making his debut in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, which is also the vehicle for his upcoming Japanese tour with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev. For first appearances with the Dallas Symphony and returns to the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, he performs the first concerto of Rachmaninov, whose orchestral output continues to figure prominently in the pianist’s programming; he also plays the second concerto with the Vienna Symphony; the third with Washington’s National Symphony and London’s Philharmonia; and the “Paganini Variations” with the Atlanta Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, and for his Toronto Symphony debut. Trifonov joins the Cleveland Orchestra for Shostakovich’s first concerto, and plays Chopin on European tours with the Kremerata Baltica and Philharmonia Orchestra. With a solo recital program of Bach, Beethoven, and Liszt, he tours a host of key venues, including London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Théatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Tokyo’s Opera City, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica, and New York’s Carnegie Hall, for the third consecutive year. Trifonov also returns to the New York venue’s main stage as the culmination of a nine-city U.S. duo recital tour in partnership with Grammy Award-winning violinist Gidon Kremer.
Last season saw the release of Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, the pianist’s first recording as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist. Captured live at his sold-out 2013 Carnegie Hall recital debut, which showcased “his uncommon technical gifts and poetic sensibility” (New York Times), the album’s release coincided with his return to Carnegie’s main stage one year later. Further recital engagements took the pianist from Chicago to London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, and other international musical hotspots, and he collaborated with 19 of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Washington, San Francisco, and London, where his account of Chopin’s F-minor concerto prompted the Times to hail him as “an artist of breathtaking poise and theatricality.” This past summer the pianist toured with the Israel Philharmonic, and made high-profile festival appearances in Edinburgh, Verbier, and Lucerne.
In 2012-13, Trifonov made debuts with all the “Big Five” orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra – and with European ensembles including Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and London’s Royal Philharmonic. He made solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, while summer brought triumphs at the Verbier and Edinburgh Festivals and in his BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Recent recitals have also taken Trifonov to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Boston’s Celebrity Series, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Master Piano Series), Berlin’s Philharmonie (the Kammermusiksaal), Munich’s Herkulessaal, Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau, Zurich’s Tonhalle, the Lucerne Piano Festival, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Seoul Arts Center.
As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Trifonov’s future plans with the label include recording Rachmaninov’s complete piano concertos. His discography also features a Chopin album for Decca and a recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on the ensemble’s own label.
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 also awarded the prestigious Franco Abbiati Prize for Best Instrumental Soloist by Italy’s foremost music critics.
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 last spring, the Cleveland Plain Dealer marveled: “Even having seen it, one cannot quite believe it. Such is the artistry of pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov.”