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,” declared 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.”
In fall 2022, Trifonov headlined the season-opening galas of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra and New York’s Carnegie Hall, where his concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra marked the first of his four appearances at the venue in 2022-23. Over the season, he returns to Carnegie Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra; for the first of three high-profile collaborations with Joshua Bell, and as the final stop of an extensive North American recital tour with a new program of Mozart, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Scriabin.
Other 2022-23 highlights include concerts with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra; season-long artistic residencies with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Radio France; tours with the Orchestre National de France and London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; a chamber collaboration with Stefan Jackiw and Alisa Weilerstein at New York’s 92nd Street Y and the release of DG’s deluxe new CD and Blu-ray edition of the best-selling, Grammy-nominated double album “Bach: The Art of Life.”
Trifonov undertook a multi-faceted, season-long tenure as 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic, featuring the New York premiere of his own Piano Quintet. Other recent highlights include a season-long Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series; the world premiere performances of Mason Bates’ new Piano Concerto, composed for the pianist during the pandemic, with ensembles including the co-commissioning Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony; playing Tchaikovsky’s First under Riccardo Muti in the historic gala finale of the Chicago Symphony’s 125th-anniversary celebrations; launching the New York Philharmonic’s 2018-19 season; headlining complete Rachmaninov concerto cycles at the New York Philharmonic’s Rachmaninov Festival and with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic; undertaking 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 headlining the Berlin Philharmonic’s famous New Year’s Eve concert under Sir Simon Rattle.
Since making solo recital debuts at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall and Paris’ Salle Pleyel in 2012-13, Trifonov has given solo recitals at venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; 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 Música; Tokyo’s Opera City; the Seoul Arts Center, and Melbourne’s Recital Centre.
In October 2021, Deutsche Grammophon released “Bach: The Art of Life,” featuring Bach’s masterpiece The Art of Fugue, as completed by Trifonov himself. Also including selections from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, music by four of the composer’s sons, and two pieces known to have been Bach family favorites, “Bach: The Art of Life” scored the pianist his sixth Grammy nomination, while an accompanying music video, on which he performs his own completion of the work’s final contrapunctus, was recognized with the 2022 Opus Klassik Public Award. Trifonov also received Opus Klassik’s 2021 Instrumentalist of the Year/Piano Award for “Silver Age,” his album of Russian solo and orchestral piano music by Scriabin, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.
Released in fall 2020, this followed “Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival” (2019), for which the pianist received a 2021 Grammy nomination. Presenting the composer’s First and Third concertos, “Arrival” represents the third volume of the DG series Trifonov 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. DG 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 DG artist, which captured his sold-out 2013 Carnegie Hall recital debut live and secured him his first Grammy nomination.
During the 2010-11 season, 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 over-all 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. In 2016, he was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year and in 2021 he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1991, Trifonov began his musical training at the age of 5 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 declared: “Even having seen it, one cannot quite believe it. Such is the artistry of pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov.”