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Daniil Trifonov, Piano

Friday, May 4, 2018 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
Daniil Trifonov by Dario Acosta / DG
Post- and neo-Romanticism, serialism, and minimalism are but a few musical styles that flourished in the 20th century and paved the way for the sounds of today. Daniil Trifonov, in what promises to be one of the most eclectic and exciting recitals of the season, performs a seminal work from each decade of the 20th century. Berg’s restless harmonies, Messiaen’s kaleidoscopic colors, Adams’s undulating rhythmic pulse, and more are explored by the fascinating and virtuosic young pianist.


Daniil Trifonov, Piano


BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1

PROKOFIEV Sarcasms, Op. 17

BARTÓK Out of Doors

COPLAND Piano Variations, 1930

MESSIAEN "Le Baiser de l'Enfant-Jésus" from Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus

LIGETI Selections from Musica ricercata
·· Sostenuto
·· Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale
·· Allegro con spirito
·· Tempo di valse (poco vivace - "à l'orgue de Barbarie")


JOHN ADAMS China Gates

CORIGLIANO Fantasia on an Ostinato


BACH Gavotte from Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 (arr. S. Rachmaninoff)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission. 
Daniil Trifonov introduces his 2017–2018 Perspectives series

Perspectives: Daniil Trifonov

At a Glance

Music history is conventionally divided into broadly defined eras that encompass one or more centuries. But in music, as in other aspects of modern life, the pace of change accelerated so rapidly during the 20th century that a shorter-term focus may be more meaningful. While all such divisions are largely arbitrary, there is much to be gleaned from the comparative listening encouraged by this evening’s program, which juxtaposes 10 works for piano representative of each decade between 1900 and 2000.

Given the vast repertory to choose from, Daniil Trifonov’s flyover of the 20th century is inevitably highly selective. Each work reflects a unique time, place, and artistic sensibility, with an emphasis on the avant-garde. Yet these obvious differences belie the underlying commonalities that link composers and works across the decades. Like Berg, the most Romantic of the early 20th-century Viennese modernists, Copland used elements of 12-tone technique without jettisoning traditional tonality. Prokofiev’s percussive ostinato rhythms find a distant echo in John Corigliano’s modernist take on a repeating rhythmic motto from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The words Ligeti used to describe his work—“static, self-contained music without either development or traditional rhythmic configurations”—apply equally to John Adams’s dreamy, post-minimalist soundscape. A similar religious impulse animates both Messiaen’s paean to the infant Jesus and Thomas Adès’s musical evocation of an ascent to heaven.


Daniil Trifonov

Grammy Award–winning Russian pianist and winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award, Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent in the world of classical music as a solo artist, composer, champion of the concerto repertoire, and collaborator at the keyboard in chamber music  ...

Grammy Award–winning Russian pianist and winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award, Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent in the world of classical music as a solo artist, composer, champion of the concerto repertoire, and collaborator at the keyboard in chamber music and song. The Times (London) calls Mr. Trifonov “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.” His album Transcendental won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

Focusing on Chopin during the 2017–2018 season, Mr. Trifonov releases Chopin Evocations—his fourth album as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist—marking his first foray into a new repertoire with works of 20th-century composers who were greatly influenced by the Polish master, including Samuel Barber and Frederic Mompou.

Mr. Trifonov gives more than 20 performances on this theme across the US, Europe, and Asia, including three as part of his self-curated, seven-concert Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall: a solo recital and two all-Chopin programs with Kremerata Baltica. Additional concerts in the series include a recital with Matthias Goerne; a collaboration with Mr. Trifonov’s teacher Sergei Babayan; a performance of Mr. Trifonov’s own Piano Concerto with Valery Gergiev leading the Mariinsky Orchestra, culminating another US tour; and this evening’s solo recital that includes a seminal piece from each decade of the 20th century. Mr. Trifonov curates a similar series this season at Vienna’s Konzerthaus, as well as in San Francisco, concluding with a season-closing Rachmaninoff performance with the San Francisco Symphony.

Additional highlights of the 2017–2018 season include European tours with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica, as well as with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala. Mr. Trifonov’s orchestral appearances include Strauss’s Burleske with the Orquesta Nacional de España and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker; Scriabin’s Piano Concerto with the Seattle Symphony; a performance of his own Piano Concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Prokofiev with the Mariinsky Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra; and Rachmaninoff with the Munich Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

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