Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov (dan-EEL TREE-fon-ov) 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. Named Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year and Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, he was made a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government in 2021. As The Times of London notes, he is “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.”
Trifonov undertakes major engagements on three continents in the 2023-24 season. In concert, he performs Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra and Toronto Symphony; Brahms’s Second with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony and Israel Philharmonic; Schumann’s Concerto with the New York Philharmonic; Mozart’s “Jeunehomme” at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and other U.S. venues with the Rotterdam Philharmonic; Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the Orchestre de Paris; Mason Bates’s Concerto, a work composed for the pianist during the pandemic, with the Chicago Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; and both Gershwin and Rachmaninov concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which he joins at home and on a European tour. In recital, he plays sonatas by Prokofiev and Debussy on a high-profile European tour with cellist Gautier Capuçon, and tours a new solo program of Rameau, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Beethoven to such musical hotspots as Vienna, Munich, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, Milan, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas and New York, at Carnegie Hall.
In fall 2022, Trifonov headlined the season-opening galas of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra and New York’s Carnegie Hall, where his Opening Night concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra marked the first of his four appearances at the venue in 2022-23. Over the course of the season, he returned to Carnegie Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra, with Joshua Bell, and as the final stop of an extensive North American recital tour with a program of Mozart, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Scriabin. Other 2022-23 highlights included concerts with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony; 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 & 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 Bates’s Piano Concerto 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’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 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 Art of Fugue’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 2019’s Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival, 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.
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.
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.”