Press Room

Piano Superstar Daniil Trifonov Returns to the Houston Symphony to Perform Tchaikovsky

HOUSTON (Nov. 8, 2019) – Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov returns to the Houston Symphony in Trifonov Plays Tchaikovsky, Nov. 22–24 at Jones Hall under the direction of guest conductor Krzysztof Urbański.

The Russian pianist and Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year takes center stage in Tchaikovsky’s challenging Piano Concerto No. 1. From its famous opening chords to its soaring finale, this emotional work is perhaps history’s most popular piano concerto. Urbański opens the program with a 2017 work by contemporary French composer Guillaume Connesson. Inspired by the fiction of American author H.P. Lovecraft, Connesson’s Celephaïs from The Cities of Lovecraft is a colorful evocation of a fantasy world.

The program concludes with Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s wildly imaginative Pictures at an Exhibition, a masterpiece inspired by the artworks of Mussorgsky’s friend Viktor Hartmann. Each movement is a vivid musical sketch, culminating in a raucous thrill ride on a witch’s broom in The Hut on Hen’s Legs and the overwhelming majesty of the work’s finale, The Great Gate of Kiev. One of the most popular orchestral works, Pictures at an Exhibition is a profound monument to the power of art to withstand the test of time.

Trifonov Plays Tchaikovsky, sponsored by Frost Bank Classics with additional support by Underwriter Margaret Alkek Williams, takes place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call 713.224.7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

Friday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2:30 p.m.
Krzysztof Urbański, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Guillaume Connesson: Celephaïs from The Cities of Lovecraft
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

About Krzysztof Urbański
In September 2019, Krzysztof Urbański entered the ninth season of his tenure as music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, he became principal guest conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. In addition to concerts in Hamburg, last season he and the orchestra toured Japan and Europe and released, for Alpha Classics, “wholly excellent renderings” (Gramophone) of Lutosławski’s works, Dvořák’s Symphony No.9, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. His discography includes Chopin’s small pieces for piano and orchestra with Jan Lisiecki and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon) and Martinů’s Cello Concerto No.1 with Sol Gabetta and the Berliner Philharmoniker (Sony).
Krzysztof has appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras around the world, including the Münchner Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Wiener Symphoniker, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Krzysztof served as chief conductor and artistic leader of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, 2010-2017, and embarked on a concurrent four-season tenure as principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in 2012. In 2017, he was appointed honorary guest conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Opera. In June 2015, Krzysztof received the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. Notably, he is the first conductor to have received this award.

About Daniil Trifonov
Grammy Award-winning Russian pianist and composer Daniil Trifonov—Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year—combines consummate technique with rare sensitivity and depth. “He has everything and more…tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” marveled pianist Martha Argerich. Daniil won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Album with Transcendental, his third title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist. As The Times (London) notes, he is “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.” When he premiered his own Piano Concerto in 2013, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) marveled: “Even having seen it, one cannot quite believe it. Such is the artistry of pianist-composer Daniil Trifonov.”

This fall brings the release of Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival, the third volume of the Deutsche Grammophon series he recorded with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, following Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, named BBC Music’s 2019 Concerto Recording of the Year, and Rachmaninov: Variations, a 2015 Grammy nominee. Daniil begins his tenure as 2019–20 artist-in-residence of the New York Philharmonic with Scriabin’s Piano Concerto under Jaap van Zweden. The residency includes the New York premiere of his own Piano Quintet; and he joins the music director and orchestra for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in New York and on a European tour. He performs with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas with the New World Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony. Other highlights include Mosolov’s First Piano Concerto with the Nashville Symphony and Beethoven concertos with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Nézet-Séguin. In recital, Daniil plays a Bach program in New York, Chicago, Boston, and European destinations, besides partnering with his mentor and fellow pianist Sergei Babayan at Carnegie Hall, Cornell University, Eastman School of Music, and in Dortmund, Germany.

It was during the 2010-11 season that Daniil won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions: Third Prize in Warsaw’s International Chopin Piano Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, Daniil began his musical training at age 5, and went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman before pursuing piano studies with Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2019–20 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its sixth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring, and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $35.2 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 1,000 community-based performances each year at various schools, community centers, hospitals, and churches reaching nearly 200,000 people in Greater Houston annually.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

Eric Skelly: 713.337.8560,
Mireya Reyna: 713.337.8557,


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