Before making his way to Carnegie Hall, Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov visited the University of Richmond's Modlin Center for the Arts for a solo performance.

According to a Modlin Center press release, Trifonov is a Russian pianist who won Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year. The Times of London called Trifonov “without question the most astounding pianist of our age.” 

Deborah Sommers, executive director of the Modlin Center, organized the performance.

It took about two years to get Trifonov to perform at the university because of the limited number of dates in his U.S. tour each year. He performs only about six solo recitals each year in the U.S., Sommers said.

“Having someone of that level here to perform in our region I knew would be very special,” Sommers said. “We’re in good company.”

The event took place on Thursday, Feb. 7, in Camp Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. 

Trifonov’s performance included Beethoven’s "Andante Favori," and Sonata No. 18, Op. 31, No. 3 (“The Hunt”); selections from Schumann’s "Bunte Blätter," and his "Presto passionato," Op. 22; and Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8, according to the Modlin Center press release. 

“I have been following his work for some years and have been quite amazed at both his technique and dexterity and the color he can pull out of playing each note,” Sommers said. 

Sommers emphasized how the Modlin Center administration strives to have the most talented artists come perform at the university. The administration had tried to be as diverse as possible in its selection, she said. 

Joanne Kong, director of accompaniment and coordinator of chamber ensembles, believes Trifonov's performance will be beneficial for her piano students, she said. 

“Having these internationally famous, amazing artists really gives our students an idea of what is the highest standard of performance,” Kong said. “Seeing that live is not only educational, it’s a tremendous incentive, and it can really motivate you as a student.”

Trifonov held a master class in Camp Concert Hall on Feb. 6. He orchestrated interactive teaching activities for piano students. 

Junior Sarah Shen, a piano student, thought the class was useful, she said. 

“I think it helped me a lot with some of my fingerings and helped me improve my phrasing and taking the piece in a new direction than what I was previously thinking,” Shen said. “I think it’s interesting how a lot of his ideas involved a lot of body movement and a different way to approach the piano with your fingers and technical touch.”

Shen could not wait to hear Trifonov's performance and was excited to see how he interpreted the pieces. You could learn a lot by just listening to Trifonov's phrasing and watching his wrist movements, she said. 

The event was sold out, with many students and members of the Richmond community expected to attend.

“Trifonov’s virtuosity is absolutely astounding," Kong said. "I know audiences will be thrilled and excited just to see that level of pianist ability."

Contact news writer Morgan Tolan at morgan.tolan@richmond.edu.