September 13, 2021

Photo: Dario Acosta

To launch his 2021–22 season, Grammy-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, releases his latest Deutsche Grammophon album—Bach: The Art of Life—on October 8, and tours a recital program centered on The Art of Fugue, the album’s centerpiece, to Berlin, Monte Carlo, Vienna, Lyon and Lille. The other two of the so-called “three B’s of music”—Brahms and Beethoven—also figure prominently in the pianist’s season. A second recital program for a tour across the U.S. features music of Prokofiev, Szymanowski, Debussy and Brahms, and Brahms’s First Piano Concerto serves as the vehicle for appearances with the Dallas Symphony led by Fabio Luisi, Philharmonia Zurich under the direction of Gianandrea Noseda, New Jersey Symphony under Xian Zhang, and Rome’s Accademia Santa Cecilia led by Antonio Pappano, which Trifonov accompanies on a European tour in November and December. He also performs all five of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos this season in various combinations with seven different orchestras, starting this weekend with the New York Philharmonic, and also including the Cincinnati Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Toronto Symphony. Balancing out these staples of the repertoire, Trifonov adds yet another “B”: he gives the world premiere performances of Mason Bates’s new Piano Concerto, composed for him during the pandemic, with the co-commissioning Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, before reprising the piece in the spring with the New Jersey Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, and the other co-commissioner, the San Francisco Symphony.

Bach: The Art of Life on Deutsche Grammophon and Recital Tour
Trifonov’s new Deutsche Grammophon album, Bach: The Art of Life, centers on The Art of Fugue, but the double album also includes selections from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, music by four of Johann Sebastian’s sons, two pieces known to have been Bach family favorites, and much more. Trifonov even makes his own contribution; as a composer who in recent seasons has premiered both a piano quintet and piano concerto, he joins a long list of keyboard players, musicologists and conductors who have tried to remain faithful to Bach’s style while composing their own versions of The Art of Fugue’s final contrapunctus, which Bach did not live to complete. Following the album release, Trifonov tours a recital program to Berlin and Monte Carlo that includes The Art of Fugue, Brahms’s transcription for the left hand of the Chaconne from Bach’s D minor Partita for solo violin, and Myra Hess’s well-known “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” an arrangement of the chorale from Bach’s Cantata BWV 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Oct 25 & 27). The pianist reprises the program in the spring in Vienna, Lyon and Lille (April 1, 3 & 8). A detailed track list for Bach: The Art of Life can be found below.

Beethoven and Brahms
Much of the programming intended to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth was preempted in 2020 by the pandemic, but this season musicians around the world are making up for lost time. Trifonov plays all five Beethoven concertos across North America and Europe over the course of the season, starting this weekend with the Fourth Concerto with Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic (Sep 17–19), followed by performances of both the Fourth and Second Concertos with the Cincinnati Symphony under the baton of Louis Langrée (Sep 24 & 25). For the Munich Philharmonic’s opening week, Trifonov performs the First, Third and Fourth Concertos with Music Director Valery Gergiev and the orchestra in its new Isarphilharmonie venue, before joining Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra in the same venue for performances of the Second Concerto (Oct 8–17). Gergiev and the Mariinsky are longtime collaborators with Trifonov: not only were they with him for his 2011 Carnegie Hall debut after he won the First Prize, Gold Medal, and Grand Prix at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, but they subsequently recorded the piece he played—Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto—on the Mariinsky label; The Observer UK found the recording “scorching and heart-rending, but never bombastic.” The pianist reunites with Langrée in December in Paris, joining the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées as one of six soloists in a special concert organized by The Diapason magazine, in which he performs the first movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto (Dec 15). The entire Fourth Concerto is on the program when he joins the Budapest Festival Orchestra led by Iván Fischer for performances in May (May 15–17), and that same month the Fifth “Emperor” Concerto is the vehicle for three performances with the Toronto Symphony led by chief conductor Gustavo Gimeno (May 25, 27, 28).

It was conductor, pianist and composer Hans von Bülow who first designated the “three B’s of music,” and while he may have been making a value judgment, there are also interrelationships to justify the association. Brahms used themes from Bach in both his First Cello Sonata and Fourth Symphony, apart from making the famous arrangement for the left hand of the Chaconne that appears on Trifonov’s new album. He was also inspired by Beethoven: on Trifonov’s second recital program of the season, for a two-leg tour of the U.S. in the fall and spring, the pianist performs Brahms’s Sonata No. 3 in F minor, three movements of which incorporate the “fate motif” from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Likewise, the Rondo finale of Brahms’s First Piano Concerto, which Trifonov performs throughout the season in both the U.S. and Europe, shows similarities to the Rondo of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, a piece that forms part of Trifonov’s Munich Philharmonic collaboration in October.

World Premiere of Bates Concerto, Other Engagements
Composer Mason Bates was co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony to write a new concerto for Trifonov during the pandemic. The pianist joins the former orchestra for the world premiere in January, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Jan 14–16); the same orchestra and conductor were Trifonov’s partners for a series of three Rachmaninoff albums released on Deutsche Grammophon, two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. The West Coast premiere with the San Francisco Symphony will be conducted by rising young conductor and Alan Gilbert protégé Ruth Reinhardt (June 2–5). In between these engagements, Trifonov performs the piece with the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Lahav Shani (March 22 & 25), and as Artist-in-Residence with the New Jersey Symphony conducted by Xian Zhang (March 10–13).

Many other high-profile orchestral and recital appearances are scattered throughout Trifonov’s 2021–22 season, some exploring lesser-known music by his Russian compatriots. With the Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the pianist performs a pre-Shostakovich Soviet piano concerto: Alexander Mosolov’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (Dec 9–12). Alternating with his performances of the Bates Concerto with the Israel Philharmonic and Lahav Shani, he plays Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto (March 24 & 26), and the next month he turns to Prokofiev’s First along with Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra for two concerts with the Montreal Symphony led by its new Music Director, Rafael Payare (April 20 & 21). As is true of most of Trifonov’s seasons, he also collaborates in 2021-22 with his teacher and mentor Sergei Babayan—praised by Le Figaro as a pianist of “unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing, and breathtaking virtuosity”—performing a program of two-piano music by Rachmaninoff at Milan’s La Scala, preceded by stops in Florence, Rome and Torino.

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Track Listing for Bach: The Art of Life
Release date: October 8

J.C. Bach: Sonata No. 5 in A, Op. 17, No. 5
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Presto

W.F. Bach – 12 Polonaises, F. 12
3. No. 8 in E minor

C.P.E. Bach – 2 Clavier-Sonaten, 2 Fantasien und 2 Rondos für Kenner und Liebhaber, Wq. 59
4. IV. Rondo in C minor, H. 283

J.C.F. Bach: Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman”
5. Thema (Allegretto)
6. Var. 1
7. Var. 2
8. Var. 3
9. Var. 4 (Minore)
10. Var. 5 (Maggiore)
11. Var. 6 (Tempo di Minuetto)
12. Var. 7
13. Var 8 (Schwäbisch, Non allegro)
14. Var. 9 (Minore, Tranquillo)
15. Var. 10 (Maggiore, Tempo I)
16. Var. 11
17. Var. 12 (Alla Siciliano)
18. Var. 13
19. Var. 14
20. Var. 15 (Più andante)
21. Var. 16 (Tempo I)
22. Var. 17 (Minore)
23. Var. 18 (Maggiore, Allegro)

Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (1725)
24. J.S. Bach – Musette in D, BWV Anh. 126
25. J.S. Bach – Aria “Gedenke doch, mein Geist, zurücke”, BWV 509
26. J.S. Bach – Minuet in A minor, BWV Anh. 120
27. J.S. Bach – Minuet in F, BWV Anh. 113
28. J.S. Bach – Polonaise F, BWV Anh. 117b
29. J.S. Bach – [Polonaise] in D minor, BWV Anh. 128
30. J.S. Bach – Choral “Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille”, BWV 511
31. Petzold – Minuet in G, Anh. 114
32. J.S. Bach – Minuet in G, BWV Anh. 116
33. C.P.E. Bach – Polonaise in G minor, BWV Anh. 125
34. J.S. Bach – Minuet in C minor, BWV Anh. 121
35. Stölzel – Bist du bei mir (Formerly Attrib. J.S. Bach as BWV 508)

Brahms – 5 Studies, Anh.1a/1
36. V. Chaconne (After Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 by J.S. Bach, Arr. for Piano)

J.S. Bach – The Art Of Fugue, BWV 1080
37. Contrapunctus 1
38. Contrapunctus 2
39. Contrapunctus 3
40. Contrapunctus 4
41. Contrapunctus 5
42. Contrapunctus 6 [per Diminutionem] in Stylo Francese
43. Contrapunctus 7 per Augmentationem et Diminutionem
44. Contrapunctus 8
45. Contrapunctus 9 alla Duodecima
46. Contrapunctus 10 alla Decima
47. Contrapunctus 11
48. Contrapunctus [12] [rectus]
49. Contrapunctus 12 inversus
50. Contrapunctus [13] [rectus]
51. Contrapunctus [13] inversus
52. Canon [in Hypodiatessaron] per Augmentationem in Contrario Motu
53. Canon in Hypodiapason (Canon alla Ottava)
54. Canon alla Decima in Contrapunto alla Terza
55. Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta
56. [Contrapunctus 14] (Completed by Daniil Trifonov)

57. J.S. Bach – Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, Cantata BWV 147 (transcribed by Myra Hess for piano)

Daniil Trifonov: 2021–22 season engagements

Sep 17-19
New York, NY
Alice Tully Hall
New York Philharmonic/Jaap van Zweden
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

Sep 24
Cincinnati, OH
Music Hall
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Louis Langrée
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

Sep 25
Cincinnati, OH
Music Hall
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Louis Langrée
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2

Oct 8–15
Munich, Germany
Isarphilharmonie
Munich Philharmonic/Valery Gergiev
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Oct 10 & 13)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Oct 14 & 15)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4 (Oct 8 & 9)

Oct 16 & 17
Munich, Germany
Isarphilharmonie
Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2

Oct 25
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Philharmonie
BRAHMS: Chaconne in D minor for the left hand (after Bach’s Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
BACH: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata, BWV 147 (arr. Myra Hess)

Oct 27
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Auditorium Rainier III
BRAHMS: Chaconne in D minor for the left hand (after Bach’s Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
BACH: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata, BWV 147 (arr. Myra Hess)

Oct 30–Nov 1
Philharmonia Zurich/Gianandrea Noseda
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
Oct 30: Zurich, Switzerland (Opernhaus Zurich)
Oct 31: Basel, Switzerland (AMG Konzerte Basel)
Nov 1: Bern, Switzerland

Nov 4-7
Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra/Xian Zhang
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1

Nov 10
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati Memorial Hall
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

Nov 12
Chicago, Illinois
Orchestra Hall
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5

Nov 14
Boston, Massachusetts
Symphony Hall
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5

Nov 17
New York, New York
Carnegie Hall
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 5

Nov 25–Dec 4
Tour with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
Nov 25-27: Rome, Italy (Auditorium Parco della Musica – Sinopoli Hall)
Nov 29: Vienna, Austria (Musikverein Wien)
Nov 30: Munich, Germany (Isarphilharmonie)
Dec 1: Hamburg, Germany (Elbphilharmonie)
Dec 3: Düsseldorf, Germany (Tonhalle Düsseldorf)
Dec 4: Frankfurt, Germany (Alte Oper Frankfurt)

Dec 6
Belgrade, Serbia

Dec 9 & 10, 12
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw Orchestra/Santtu-Matias Rouvali
MOSOLOV: Piano Concerto No. 1

Dec 15
Paris, France
Théâtre des ChampsElysées
The Orchestre des Champs Elysée/Louis Langrée
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4: Movement I

Jan 14, 15 & 16
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
BATES: Piano Concerto (world premiere of Philadelphia Orchestra co-commission)

Jan 20-23
Dallas, Texas
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Fabio Luisi
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1

Jan 29 & 30
Moscow, Russia
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
Moscow Philharmonic
With Anne-Sophie Mutter and Pablo Ferrández
Beethoven Triple Concerto conducted by Dudamel

Feb 12 (or 13)
Florence, Italy
Sergei Babayan, piano

Feb 14
Rome, Italy
Sergei Babayan, piano

Feb 16
Torino, Italy
Sergei Babayan, piano

Feb 18
Milan, Italy
Teatro Alla Scala
Sergei Babayan, piano
RACHMANINOFF: Suite No. 1, Op. 5 for two pianos
RACHMANINOFF: Suite No. 2, Op. 17 for two pianos
RACHMANINOFF: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45a (version for two pianos)

March 10-13
Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra/Xian Zhang
MASON BATES: Piano Concerto

March 22–26
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Lahav Shani
MASON BATES: Piano Concerto (March 22, 25)
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2 (March 24, 26)
March 22: Jerusalem
March 24: Haifa
March 25, 26: Tel Aviv

March 30
Munich Germany
Herkulessaal Munich

April 1
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Konzerthaus
BRAHMS: Chaconne in D minor for the left hand (after Bach’s Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
BACH: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata, BWV 147 (arr. Myra Hess)

April 3
Lyon, France
L’Auditorium de Lyon
BRAHMS: Chaconne in D minor for the left hand (after Bach’s Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
BACH: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata, BWV 147 (arr. Myra Hess)

April 5
Paris, France
Philharmonie de Paris

April 8
Lille, France
Lille – Auditorium of the New Century
BRAHMS: Chaconne in D minor for the left hand (after Bach’s Partita for solo violin, BWV 1004)
BACH: The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
BACH: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata, BWV 147 (arr. Myra Hess)

April 10
Weimar, Germany
Weimar Theater

April 20 & 21
Montreal, Canada
Orchestra Hall
Montreal Symphony Orchestra/Rafael Payare
SCHNITTKE: Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat, Op. 10

April 24
Kansas City, Missouri
The Folly Theater
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

April 26
Scottsdale, AZ
Virginia G. Piper Theater
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

April 28
Berkeley, California
Zellerbach Hall
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

April 30
Santa Barbara, California
Campbell Hall

May 3
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Philharmonic
PROKOFIEV: Sarcasms, Op. 17
SZYMANOWSKI: Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
DEBUSSY: Pour le piano
BRAHMS: Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

May 5
Denver, Colorado
Gates Hall, Newman Center

May 7
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Chenery Auditorium

May 15-17
Budapest, Hungary
Budapest Music Center
Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4

May 25, 27 & 28
Toronto, Canada
Roy Thomson Hall
Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Gustavo Gimeno
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”

June 2-5
San Francisco, California
San Francisco Symphony/Ruth Reinhardt
BATES: Piano Concerto (West Coast premiere of San Francisco Symphony co-commission)

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© 21C Media Group, September 2021