News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Knight Foundation

Akron Children's Hospital

Northeast Ohio Medical University


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


World premiere at Cleveland Institute of Music is fanfare for a new theme
Twenty-three-year-old piano phenom Daniil Trifonov's original concerto highlights the conservatory's new focus on the virtuoso/composer
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Daniil Trifonov started composing as a very young child even before he started piano studies. His parents back in Russia are punk rock musicians.
Courtesy of Courtesy of CIM
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Tomorrow night at the Cleveland Institute of Music, a celebrated young pianist will perform the world premiere of a concerto he wrote for piano and orchestra.   

WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports the event is part of the institute’s year-long celebration of the virtuoso/composer, a theme playing out in several ways, including the development of a new curriculum. 

C.I.M.’s president calls it a return to the model that produced some of the world’s greatest music.

LISTEN: A virtuoso composer

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:56)


At 23, Russian-born pianist Daniil Trifonov is the talk of the classical world. He’s won all the top awards, played Carnegie Hall, signed with Deutsche Grammophon and is just coming off a tour of Belgium, Germany, France and Italy with the London Symphony Orchestra. 

On top of all that, he’s written a concerto. 

“It’s one of the most excitement challenges I’ve met, and so much hard work had been done on this piece, and a lot of emotions spent during the compositional process itself. And of course I’m incredibly excited.” 

A raging virtuoso
“It’s kind of a big deal,” says Joel Smirnoff, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. The CIM orchestra will perform Trifonov’s concerto tomorrow night under his baton.

“We haven’t had a composition by a raging virtuoso for the longest time. Shostakovich wrote his 2nd piano concerto in ’57. He was a virtuoso. And Previn wrote a piano concerto, but not for himself interestingly, in the '80s. He wrote it for Ashkenazy. He made it harder than he could play.”   

That won’t be a problem for Trifonov.

One of the world’s great pianists, Martha Argerich says, “what he does with his hands is technically incredible.” 

One talent informs the other
He says performing helps him compose. 

“Music of earlier 20th century, for example Bartok  and Rachmaninoff or Prokofiev have a very positive influence.”

And writing helps him perform. 

“Composition helps also understand new works which you are learning as part of your performance -- to see in detail all the connections and all the logic of a composition.”   

Trifonov still studies piano at CIM, but the fact that he’s now also a serious composer is something the institute can build on. 

An example to follow
President Joel Smirnoff wants it to launch not only great musicians, but also the next great repertoire. 

He points to virtuosi from Beethoven to Bartok, who wrote the masterworks of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

“Most of it was written at a time when everyone was expected to compose within the conservatory. There was one curriculum for everyone and some people did it better than others but everybody had to play, and everybody had to compose.”  

The head of CIM’s composition department, Keith Fitch, says that changed in the mid-20th century in an era of specialization.

“Certain figures were identified as the leading conductor, the leading pianist, the leading violinist. They were pigeonholed.”   

Another shining example
Trifonov won’t be, but he’s not the only poster boy for Joel Smirnoff’s new comprehensive approach. 

Another is pianist Marshall Griffith, one of this year’s distinguished CIM alumni who also teaches there. 

Griffith is in much demand as a pianist and composes lots of music, but that’s not all. 

“Sometimes I’m a pianist, sometimes I’m a conductor, sometimes a theory person. Sometimes I give lectures on Masonic details concerning the works of Mozart.”  

Griffith solidly endorses his alma mater’s “Year of the Composer/Virtuoso.” 

“The institute as an educational leader taking on the responsibility of trying to encourage this is a really magnificent idea.”   

Daniil Trifonov says Smirnoff was the impetus for his concerto. 

He also credits his composition teacher. 

“I’m very thankful to my teacher Keith Fitch who helped with great advices on the instrumentation, orchestration process.” 

Connecting with the culture of community
Fitch says in performing 150 concerts a year with the world’s great ensembles, connecting with audiences and their culture, Trifonov is channeling the icons of the 20th century. 

“Toscanini won the composition prize at Parma Conservatory; Horovitz composed; Heifetz composed quite well including a pop song that Bing Crosby recorded. George Szell composed quite a bit.  These figures were multi-faceted musicians and we’re trying to get back to that, where they know something about the world in which we live. They know about arts and culture and film. All of this feeds them instead of being the kid in the practice room learning a Tchaikovsky concerto.”  

The complete musician
Not that Tchaikovsky concertos aren’t worth practicing, but Joel Smirnoff saw the need when he started his tenure at CIM in 2008 to return to the concept of “the complete musician.” 

“It developed very quickly because I was wandering the halls here as the President and looking at the students and thinking, ‘What music are they actually going to be playing?’ Because the violinists and the pianists were all stuck in the romantic repertoire here. And the question is at what point are they going to really become relevant to the culture that surrounds them today, and how is that going to happen?”  

Smirnoff made it happen for himself. The Lifetime Grammy Award-winning violinist played for almost a quarter century with the Julliard String Quartet. He also conducts and calls himself a closet composer.

Trading culture
The composer/virtuoso curriculum is still under development at CIM, but Smirnoff’s cultural seminar will be a requirement. 

“We are an international school. We have people from Korea, from Latvia, from China, from South America, from the Dominican Republic, and it’s high time they got in a room and traded culture. I don’t think any other music school’s particularly interested in this, but we feel it’s intrinsic to their music expression.”   

Keith Fitch expects only a few students to major in the composer/virtuoso program. 

“We’re talking about the top of the top of the top and those people come along very rarely.”

People like pianist and CIM student Daniil Trifonov. 

The world premiere of his new work for piano and orchestra will be tomorrow night at 8 at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Kulas Hall.

Here's the Plain Dealer's review of Wednesday night's concert.  

(Click image for larger view.)


Related WKSU Stories

Cleveland Institute of Music pianist Daniil Trifonov makes his solo debut at Carnegie Hall
Monday, February 4, 2013

Listener Comments:

Daniil est un être merveilleux un ange tombe du ciel


Posted by: Pontois ( Le bois du roi fierville les parcs 14130) on April 22, 2014 12:04PM
J'ai une grande admiration pour Daniil Trifonov que j'ai vu en concert deux fois à Paris je ne lui trouve pas d'égal c'est un ange tombe du ciel


Posted by: Pontois (Fierville les parcs 14130 France) on April 22, 2014 7:04AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio survey shows low-income people are choosing phones over food
Where is this study published? no sign of it on google scholar. is there a cite

The Akron Sound rocks the porches
fabulous group interview! you covered so much in so little time. wish i could be there for porch rockr.

Head of Ohio Dems says Kasich administration is lying about Suarez contacts
when Kasich's mouth is open , he's lying. Look what he did at Lehmans brothers and then lied about it all during the campaign. If a GOP didn't lie, he or she ...

Canton's Basilica of St. John absorbs news of the pope at morning Mass
Hello Chris,Marina,and Patrice, I just read this article and you all look great. I'm on facebook Jean Dutcher in blue and white stripped blouse. I"M so glad to ...

Exploradio: Avoiding the 'acting-white' trap
Growing-up black and being black should not determine that you will not speak well or will not be a high achiever in your goals in life.But society te nds to la...

Charter-school supporters to rally at Statehouse
I am on the bus now headed to the rally. Horizon is an excellent school. My son is is 7 th grade. The teachers and administrators are top notch and spend so m...

Former Nursing Home Land Added to Parks
In addition, LED technology also plays a very important role in advertising- LED placard is very, very useful for shop owners.

Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on school funding
That's not true. Other school districts HAVE followed this law and done this. Oakhills is one of them and how they were able to provide technology for their s...

Death and beauty at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art
What a disgusting story to air at lunch time.

Ohio Supreme Court grills attorneys on flooding and million-dollar fixes
Perhaps the State of Ohio should take the lead and implement state wide water shed districts that would collect minimum fees. The funds could then be distribute...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University