Trifonov is injured in a bike accident

Trifonov is injured in a bike accident


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2018

From the pianist Daniil Trifonov:

I am very sorry that I will not be able to perform with Kremerata Baltica on our upcoming tour, which was to feature the world premiere of my new work, Quintetto concertante, written for Gidon Kremer. I recently suffered a bicycle accident in New York, my home city, and injured my ankle. My orthopedist has forbidden me to play piano using my foot until my ankle has healed.

We wish Daniil a speedy recovery.


  • Sharon says:

    NYC is making a major push to increase bicycle riding with “citbike” rentals and having posts to chain bicycles all over the city. However, unless we have more separate bike lanes, at least on every major street, accidents will continue to happen

    • SVM says:

      Most bicycle lanes are badly designed and have the effect of slowing-down cyclists when compared with cycling on the road. When cycling around my local town (in the UK), I never use the bicycle lanes, because they are narrow, full of litter, have a lower-quality surface, and (unlike the road itself) require you to give way at every side street. Furthermore, many pedestrians are wont to strolling in bicycle lanes without looking (thus forcing cyclists to go very slowly and swerve regularly). Bicycle lanes are neither helpful nor necessary on most urban roads; what we need is for motorists to respect other road-users. Councils and police can facilitate this by enforcing existing laws more rigorously, and pressing for strong penalties against motorists who flout them (e.g.: dangerous overtaking; breaking the speed limit; obstructive parking; abrupt turning without signalling).

    • Brian says:

      Agreed. We need more bike lanes in NYC that are clearly separated from traffic and with their own traffic signals. There have been a lot of studies on how the Dutch and Danish have made this happen and fostered a healthy cycling culture in their cities. Perhaps accidents such as Trifonov’s will be less common as a result.

    • JJC says:

      Bike riding in NYC is a near-suicidal activity and bike lanes have only increased the danger. Part of the problem is the imposition of these lanes on a road system not originally designed for them and already limited in space, but the bigger issue is the sense of entitlement shown by so many cyclists in flouting every rule of the road. The motorist always seems to get the blame no matter how outrageous the violation of the biker. I avoid driving on roads with bike lanes whenever possible.

      • Michael Comins says:

        As one living on the UWS containing two one-way north-south major arteries, I find the added bike lanes nothing but a nuisance. Many delivery bikers don’t use them. Worse, delivery vehicles stop on both sides thereby constricting traffic to one lane down from original four lanes before bike lanes were installed. These roads are used by major inter-city buses traveling in and out of our Port Authority Bus Terminal in addition to huge trucks hauling building supplies meant for new 100-story buildings in midtown. IMHO, bike lanes in Manhattan should be done away with.

        • Brian says:

          Why not do away with car and truck lanes instead? Who says cars should have such primacy in a city where the vast majority of residents don’t own them?

          • JJC says:

            But this vast majority depends and subsists on the goods and services that are theirs because of motorized vehicles and it is not likely that they would kindly tolerate being deprived. Think.

      • Dave T says:

        It’s not just in NY. In other US cities I regularly see bicyclists sail straight through intersections when the light is red. At best they’ll pause briefly then go. It’s really infuriating.

        Bicyclists demand respect on the road yet offer very little of their own. I really can’t stand them.

  • Been Here Before says:

    This is not the first accident of this sort, I believe. Didn’t he injure his wrist a while ago and had to play with a bandage? We wish Trifonov a quick recovery – he should be more careful in the future.

    • SVM says:

      Why do some people always place the blame on the weaker road-user (cyclist) without knowing the circumstances? There are, undoubtedly, things one can do as a cyclist to reduce the probability of an accident, but, ultimately, no matter how careful one is, one is very much at the mercy of bigger, more powerful vehicles.

      • Been Here Before says:

        Based on my driving experience in the UK, I can confidently state that the cyclists are the reckless and irresponsible ones. They often go far from the side of the road (where they should stay) and thus slow down the traffic. In such cases, avoiding accidents becomes an art form.

        That said, I don’t know what happened to Trifonov. I wish him the best, but from past experiences, it is apparent that the fellow is highly accident-prone (and not only when cycling).

        • SVM says:

          Based on my cycling *and* motoring experience in the UK, I can state confidently that recklessness is to be found among some cyclists and many motorists. But, the more important point is that a car, owing to its greater weight and speed, has a far higher capacity for and probability of inflicting serious injury or death than a bicycle.

          Responding to a point made by “Been Here Before” specifically, I would like to stress that there are several good reasons why a cyclist may be “far from the side of the road”:

          1. In general, it is far safer to get past queues of slow/static traffic by overtaking in the middle of the road, where everybody can see you clearly, than to undertake in the sliver of space between queued vehicles and the pavement (which can become, without warning, no space at all when a motorist starts moving again without checking his/her wing-mirrors);

          2. Similarly, if turning right (in countries where one drives on the left; for countries where one drives on the right, substitute “turning left”), it is, in my experience, safer to occupy the middle of the lane (yes, this means that traffic behind the turning cyclist may have to wait, just as it would for a car turning right) than to attempt to negotiate passing traffic in both directions from the edge of the road;

          3. The side of the road tends to have more potholes, uneven drain-covers, litter (a lot of it originating from motor vehicles, incidentally), and broken glass — even relatively small obstacles (the sort that the suspension of a car can absorb) can easily bring a cyclist off his/her bicycle, so swerving towards the middle of the road may be a cyclist’s only option;

          4. When going round a bend on two wheels, one needs some clearance on both sides (because nobody can anticipate every facet of the road conditions with complete accuracy) — to minimise unpredictable swerving, an experienced cyclist moves gradually towards the centre of the lane *before* the bend;

          5. Since some motorists overtake cyclists in a very dangerous manner (e.g.: not leaving enough clearance; overtaking in places where they cannot see far enough ahead; breaking the speed limit), a cyclist may occupy the middle of the lane to deter/prevent motorists from overtaking if the cyclist judges it would be too dangerous;

          6. If cycling at night in the countryside (yes, cyclists have every right to ride at night, provided they are using lights), it may be difficult/impossible to see *exactly* where the edge of the road is (and obstacles such as potholes are also much harder to spot) — in those circumstances, as with bends, having clearance on both sides is vital;

          7. In general, it is safer to maintain a steady, predictable course away from the edge of the road than to have to swerve constantly from edge to middle and back again.

          • Been Here Before says:

            This is all good, but please keep in mind that roads are there primarily for cars. In a situation where a single cyclist driving on the middle of the road creates a queue of 5-6 cars behind him and slows down the traffic, the excuse of him being weaker becomes preposterous — and it certainly does not give him the right to inconvenience the majority.

            As per motorcyclists, on my way from the gym an hour ago there was a guy overtaking so recklessly that I thought it was a miracle he didn’t cause an accident. He was a clear danger both to himself and to the rest of us on the road.

          • SVM says:

            Re “roads are there primarily for cars.”:

            Actually, no. With the exception of motorways, roads are there to serve cyclists as well. Especially in older towns and cities, the roads may have been built at a time before cars existed. And, as for roads that have been *designed* primarily with cars in mind, that does not confer divine precedence upon cars.

            Re: “In a situation where a single cyclist driving on the middle of the road creates a queue of 5-6 cars behind him and slows down the traffic,”:

            Speaking from my own experience as a motorist, lorries and tractors cause far more inconvenience of this type, and are much harder to overtake safely. I even recall one occasion where, driving on a motorway, I and many others were stuck at 40mph on account of an antique car (the overtaking lane was too crowded)! When stuck behind a cyclist, there is a good chance that a safe opportunity for overtaking will present itself far sooner than had it been a lorry or tractor.

            Re “the excuse of him being weaker becomes preposterous — and it certainly does not give him the right to inconvenience the majority.”:

            [sarcasm alert] Because the convenience of the majority is invariably far more important than the safety of the minority, right… So, never try to get out of the way for an ambulance! That selfish person having a heart-attack is causing so much inconvenience to all those motorists who have to stop or move out of the way to let the ambulance past! [end of sarcasm alert]

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Been Here…how vile.

            All road users have an equal right to be on the road (which were originally tarmaced for bicycles). But it is far safer to be near the middle of the lane than on the edge for a cycle. And cars shouldn’t be squeezing past bikes. Perhaps you also feel cars should “get out of the way of lorries”.

        • Eric says:

          There is actually nothing in the law or highway code that says a cyclist should ride at the side of the road. They are perfectly entitled to ride in the middle of the road. In the eyes of the law they are vehicle, after all. Children being taught road safety are actually encouraged to ride in the middle of the lane these days.

          As a daily city and country cyclist I can tell you that the side of the road is often full of debris, potholes, low-lying storm drains, animal carcasses, car parts and many other things. The typical cyclist is constantly scanning the upcoming road surface far more than any car driver ever will be. A slight defect in the road surface can be potentially fatal for a cyclist, whilst a car driver might not even notice the bump.

  • John M. Sneede says:

    What’s with the barbed wire, graffiti, window security grilles and exhaust pipe? A high security prison? An advertisement for beard grooming products? Gangsta rap? A clip from “The Book of Eli”? Supposed to look cool, man? What a joke.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Art constrained by necessity: more keyboard work and less pedals.

  • Alan O'Connor says:

    Hope he’s ok for Salzburg!

  • Neon Meate Dream says:

    I would have thought the bigger risk in NY is getting fined $250000 for not respecting the 31 approved gender identities and their preferred pronouns.
    Wonder which pronoun Danil lays claim to?

  • Clara says:

    Yeah he’s hilariously clumsy. He broke his wrist a few years ago, got a concussion after falling outside his yoga studio, etc…it’s all on his fb page.

  • William Wheaton says:

    Dude I would think that as a pianist you would take extra caution cycling in our city. Someone should let DeBlaio’s know his Five Point Plan to reduce traffic congestion isn’t working. Now we must proceed to the SIx Point Plan which allowes only bikes in this city no vehicles!!!

  • buxtehude says:

    Peter Serkin used to tell the story, in illustration of what a rebel he’d been in the 1960s, of the day his father (Rudolph) caught him gardening with a trowel and read him the riot act. How many months had the son been painfully training one or another pair of fingers to achieve some awkward trill &c &c, only to risk it all on a slip of the little shovel.

    I know many bikers, both commuters and racers, and they are a banged-up breed. Rejiggering the roads may help, for a while at least, but more berserkers will crowd in, bringing fresh carnage. They are a danger to one another, not to mention cars, trucks and pedestrians (source of the most injuries).

    Concert pianists need not just their shoulders arms hands and fingers, but as this story shows, their legs and feet. They should stay off bikes, completely.

  • Daniel says:

    The more pressing concern for me is Danil taking care of his breathing problems he seems to have whilst onstage. In a recent performance of the Rach 2nd piano concerto in Philly, his inhaling was louder than his piano playing…..quite the distraction.

  • MacroV says:

    I’m sure he’ll appreciate all the advice. Note that there are no details of the accident, fault, etc.. And people can get injured/killed driving a car, too.

    • buxtehude says:

      O I guess you’re right. Let him have a little fun.

      Every hear of BASE-jumping in a wingsuit? Look at the videos. The absolute end.

  • Robert Hairgrove says:

    All the best for a speedy recovery for Mr. Trifonov!

    (…looking more and more like V. Gergiev these days? 🙂 )

    • anmarie says:

      Like VG? In what way?

      • Robert Hairgrove says:

        I suppose it’s the beard. Or that, plus the hair combed out of his face instead of the “shaggy dog” look … That shaggy dog look is not so practical for pianists, I’m afraid (i.e. hair falling over the eyes…).

  • Ed says:

    Remember Chausson..,.