This summer, following a series of high-profile spring successes in North America, Gramophone Artist of the Year Daniil Trifonov makes recital debuts in Baltimore’s prestigious Shriver Hall Concert Series and at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and returns to Tanglewood for both a solo recital and a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony. Bookending these U.S. engagements are appearances in Austria: earlier this month he joined Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter Virtuosi at the Salzburg Festival for a program of Schubert’s chamber music, and at the end of the summer he reunites with Andris Nelsons at the Salzburg Festival for two accounts of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic. Rounding out his Salzburg Festival performances is a recital of Berg, Schumann, Wolf, Shostakovich, and Brahms with baritone Matthias Goerne.
Trifonov’s solo recitals this summer, in Baltimore’s Shriver Hall and at Caramoor and Tanglewood, will be the latest showcases for a formidable program of Schumann, Stravinsky, and Shostakovich that, over the course of the past season, has won him raves on both sides of the Atlantic. Juxtaposing three works by Schumann – the tender Kinderszenen, virtuosic Op. 7 Toccata, and dramatic tour-de-force Kreisleriana – with selections from Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues and Stravinsky’s piano arrangement of Three Movements from Petrushka, the program has already taken him to international destinations including London, Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, Oslo, Cologne, Dortmund, Dresden, Sydney, Melbourne, and six North American cities, including performances at Washington’s Kennedy Center and in Carnegie Hall. After the Carnegie performance in December, the New York Times declared that “the brilliant and poetic components of his artistry found ideal balance in his magnificent performance,” and when Trifonov played the same program at the Barbican in January, The Times of London considered the concert “another highlight in the career of the 25-year-old Russian.” The review continued:
“The juxtaposition of heady Schumann and detached, ironic Shostakovich was inspired. In his selection from the 24 Preludes and Fugues, Trifonov carried a rapt audience from the lilt and sob of No. 4 to the thunderous, towering ending of No. 24 in D minor. Then, fired up, he dazzled us with three movements from Stravinsky’s Petrushka, bursting with colour, brilliance and life.”
Trifonov has also been broadening his repertoire by focusing on four different Mozart concertos over the course of the season. Concerto No. 21, the one he plays this summer at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, was the vehicle for a performance at London’s 2016 BBC Proms – where The Guardian praised the “sheer elan” of his “sparkling and virtuosic account” – and then in Salzburg’s Easter Festival this past spring, on both occasions with Christian Thielemann and his Staatskapelle Dresden. Trifonov’s conductor at Tanglewood is BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, with whom he reunites in August at the summer Salzburg Festival, as Nelsons leads the Vienna Philharmonic in two performances of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto.
When Trifonov joined Anne-Sophie Mutter in Salzburg, it was to celebrate her 40th anniversary performing in Mozart’s birthplace; she debuted there at the age of 13, playing music by the favorite son himself, at the 1977 Salzburg Whitsun Festival with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. As the Salzburger Nachrichten commented afterward, “in Salzburg she underscored her reputation as a genuine, fully-fledged musical natural with an astute, well-rounded, technically sound performance.” With the violinist and young musicians from her Mutter Virtuosi ensemble, Trifonov performed two of Schubert’s most beloved chamber works at the Salzburg Festival: the “Trout” Quintet and the “Notturno” Piano Trio in E-flat.
Trifonov’s final performance in Salzburg is in collaboration with baritone Matthias Goerne – “a masterly singer endowed with an opulent baritone that includes a silky, cello-like high register and penetrating depths” (New York Times) – who will be at the festival singing the title role in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. The recital program includes Berg’s Four Songs, Op. 2, and songs on verses of Michelangelo by both Wolf and Shostakovich. Trifonov’s focus on Schumann in his solo recitals is further expanded in this performance with Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe, and the program is completed by Brahms’s Four Serious Songs, Op. 121, composed late in his life in anticipation of his friend Clara Schumann’s impending death after a stroke. Trifonov and Goerne will reunite for another recital at Carnegie Hall in February 2018 as part of the venue’s “Perspectives” series, which the pianist curates in the coming season over the course of seven concerts. Click here for further details of Trifonov’s “Perspectives” performances.