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Daniil Trifonov

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The music on this program requires poetry and passion that only a master pianist can deliver. “Daniil Trifonov’s playing has it all … he leaves you struggling for superlatives,” said The Guardian. Schumann’s Kinderszenen tenderly reflects on childhood, his Toccata is dazzlingly virtuosic, and his Kreisleriana is wildly inventive. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier and Chopin’s Preludes provided the inspiration for Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. Shostakovich’s music, however, is hardly derivative; the composer’s melancholy, acerbic wit, and technical genius shine through. For pure high-octane excitement, it’s difficult to top Stravinsky’s Three Movements from Pétrouchka, a touchstone for any pianist.


Daniil Trifonov, Piano


SCHUMANN Kinderszenen

SCHUMANN Toccata, Op. 7

SCHUMANN Kreisleriana

SHOSTAKOVICH Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, Op. 87, No. 4

SHOSTAKOVICH Prelude and Fugue in A Major, Op. 87, No. 7

SHOSTAKOVICH Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, Op. 87, No. 2

SHOSTAKOVICH Prelude and Fugue in D Major, Op. 87, No. 5

SHOSTAKOVICH Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, Op. 87, No. 24

STRAVINSKY Three Movements from Pétrouchka


MEDTNER Fairy Tale in F Minor, Op. 26, No. 3

MEDTNER Fairy Tale in B Minor, Op. 20, No. 2, “Campanella”

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15

Schumann composed the deceptively uncomplicated miniatures that make up Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) in part as a love letter to his future wife, Clara Wieck. Although he called them “as light as a bubble,” Clara saw clearly that he had invested these “scenes of touching simplicity” with the emotional turmoil of his inner life.


Written when the composer was planning a career as a concert pianist, the short but notoriously difficult Toccata, Op. 7, was designed to show off Schumann’s virtuosity and stamina. On one occasion recorded in his diary, he played the work through 10 times in a single sitting.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Kreisleriana, Op. 16

German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann, who created the memorable character of the half-crazed Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler, was Schumann’s soulmate and literary counterpart. Kreisleriana pays homage to its namesake in the form of eight fantasy-like pieces that also reflect the contrasting personalities of the composer’s fictional alter egos: the impulsive Florestan and the dreamy Eusebius.

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  Selections from 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87

Inspired by Bach’s 48 canonic preludes and fugues, Shostakovich’s Op. 87 is the culmination of his lifelong admiration for the Baroque composer’s contrapuntal mastery. Although they were initially conceived as technical exercises, Shostakovich’s preludes and fugues are among his most intricately wrought and richly expressive creations.  

IGOR STRAVINSKY  Three Movements from Pétrouchka

Pétrouchka is the second of three wildly successful ballets inspired by Russian folklore that made Stravinsky a household name in Paris before World War I. After the war, the composer collaborated with Arthur Rubinstein to create the brilliantly virtuosic piano suite Three Movements from Pétrouchka based on episodes from the ballet.


Daniil Trifonov

Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent to classical stardom. Since winning first prize at both the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition and the 2011 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano  ...

Combining consummate technique with rare sensitivity, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent to classical stardom. Since winning first prize at both the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition and the 2011 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition at the age of 20, Mr. Trifonov has appeared with the world's foremost orchestras and performed solo recitals in its greatest venues.

Earlier this fall, Mr. Trifonov released Transcendental, his third album as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist; it marks the label's first recording of Liszt's complete concert etudes. Winner of Gramophone's 2016 Artist of the Year Award, he also performed Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto under Riccardo Muti at the gala finale of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 125th anniversary celebrations.

Having received his second Grammy Award-nomination for the album Rachmaninov Variations, Mr. Trifonov performs the composer's Third Piano Concerto for his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle at the orchestra's famous New Year's Eve concerts, which are scheduled to air live in theaters throughout Europe. He also makes debuts this season with the Melbourne and Sydney symphony orchestras, returns to the Los Angeles and Royal Liverpool philharmonics, and headlines the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra's Rachmaninoff cycle tour with longtime collaborator Valery Gergiev. Mr. Trifonov also performs Mozart with the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Staatskapelle Dresden, as well as at the Salzburg Festival and BBC Proms; Ravel with the Staatskapelle Dresden; Beethoven with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich; Prokofiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Chopin on tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and Schumann with the Houston Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and on tour with Riccardo Chailly and the Teatro alla Scala Orchestra.

An accomplished composer, Mr. Trifonov performs his own acclaimed concerto in Kansas City this season. With a new program of Schumann, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky, he makes recital debuts at London's Barbican Centre and Melbourne's Recital Centre; appears in Berlin, Vienna, Florence, Madrid, Oslo, and Moscow; and returns to Philadelphia and Baltimore. Mr. Trifonov also gives duo recitals in Princeton and Sarasota with his former teacher, pianist Sergei Babayan, and returns to the Tanglewood, Verbier, Baden-Baden, and Salzburg festivals. 

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