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Fits & Bursts | Daniil Trifonov: "If your fingers go directly from your heart"

By Michael Vincent on April 4, 2015

There are few, if any pianists quite like Daniil Trifonov. In this fascinating video, pianist and former classmate Zsolt Bognár interviews Trifonov, who at the age of 24, shows a wisdom well beyond his years. The award-winning pianist delves into his intensely personal practice regiment, and covers some very unorthodox methods – such as playing while laying down on the piano bench.

Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov demonstrates a practice technique of playing while lying down.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov demonstrates a practice technique of playing while lying down.

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Another interesting technique is Trifonov’s recommendation that, before a major performance, time be spent exploring the music by spontaneous variation:

You have to think of the differences which it is possible to find. Of course, 99% of them you will not use in your performance — but just to get your imagination expanding and your emotions rolling, it’s really helpful, I believe… [improvises at length on opening fanfare motif from Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, 1st movement] … whatever comes first to the mind. Of course, finally, you will play it as it should be. But the problem is that in rolling several times the same model of playing as you think you should play in the concert, you will put yourself in a little bit of a cage of ‘only one way,’ and that actually will make you feel nervous and uncomfortable … in this way you force yourself onto one path, narrowing your playing. It becomes like you are walking on a knife.

You can watch more videos in the series (“Living The Classical Life”) here.

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Daniil Trifonov’s Silver Age Is A Must Hear

By Norman Lebrecht on November 13, 2020

With a nonchalant denial of difficulty and wondrously 21st century approach, Daniil Trifonov's new release is a must hear.
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