Label news: DG lands a master pianist

Label news: DG lands a master pianist


norman lebrecht

July 19, 2018

The yellow label has just signed Sergei Babayan, Martha Argerich’s go-to four-hand partner and Daniil Trifonov’s US teacher.

Babayan, 57, is Armenian-American, a contemplative man who will not have much to do with media hype.

His signing is an industry coup.



  • La Verita says:

    Trifonov’s only teacher? Trifonov studied for 12 years with Tatiana Zelikman at the Gnissin Institute, and at the Moscow Conservatory with Vera Gornostaeva. An industry coup? Babayan has been ignored by major labels and managements for 30 years. Fake news all around.

    • Karen says:

      Not to mention he is hardly Argerich’s go-to four-hand partner… Kovacevich, Barenboim, Zilberstein, etc. all collaborate more frequently with Argerich.

    • Sofia says:

      Daniel Trifonov studied only 9 years from 2000-2009 at Gnessin school of music afterwords he moved to the US to study with Sergei Babayan. Check Daniel Trifonov’s Wikipedia.
      Daniel NEVER studied with Vera Gormostaeva or any other teacher at Moscow Ccnservatory.
      Vera Gornostaeva was Sergei Banayan’s Teacher.
      I suggest you to change your nickname VERITA to a more modest one

      • Olassus says:

        Babayan’s Beethoven, if he gets to record it, will be more interesting than Trifonov’s — in a world where nobody seems able to play this repertory any more (Lang, Levit, et al.) or willing (the vaunted, and one is tempted to say overrated because of her limitations, Argerich). Remember Kempff? Gilels? Brendel? Goode?

  • Caravaggio says:

    An industry coup indeed. Mr. Babayan is a master pianist of the finest order. The industry is safe with pianists and string players at the moment as there is no scarcity of great ones. Pitifully, when it comes to vocalists, the ground is so dried up it’s parched. And with drought comes exodus and then nothing.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Most refreshing, for a number of reasons:
    – great musician
    – focuses on the music and skips the media crap.
    – the 50s is a great age for pianists, because they are hardly loose any of their technical power while being musically wiser. Record companies are often too focused on the young, at the expense of middle age.

  • Esfir Ross says:

    I got S.Babayan D.Scarlatti excellent CD while ago

  • Margaret Evans says:

    Sergei Babayan is a phenomenon, loving and practicing his art for all the right reasons all these years. A true artist, he is fully deserving of every bit of recognition.

  • Richtermaniac says:

    Sergei is a genius! This is long overdue and richly deserved!

  • Zsolt Bognar says:

    Wonderful news for a fantastic musician and exemplary human being with integrity—always focusing on music rather than career. Looking forward to these future recordings very much and we send our congratulations.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I second all the congratulatory comments! I heard the Babayan/Trifonov 4-hand recital in Boston this past winter. With all due respect to Daniil Trifonov, I actually thought Babayan had a warmer sound to his playing, greater expressiveness, and overall was more interesting to listen to. This is not to say anything negative about Daniil Trifonov, who I greatly look forward to hearing this coming season. But I was left wanting to hear much more from Sergei Babayan, and now it looks like we will get that chance, if only in recording.

  • boringfileclerk says:


  • Doug says:

    This is only a Drudge-Alert style headline because of clandestine exchange of bags of cash. Remember, you read it here first.

    • Zsolt Bognar says:

      I think most classical musicians would love to see clandestine bags of cash–but most of them will confirm that they don’t exist, even on this level. Thankfully with the artistry of Sergei Babayan, I would guess that most people wouldn’t ponder worldly concerns but rather forget about them–do check out his performances on youtube when you have a moment!

      • Pete says:

        I agree completely. From the time I first heard Babayan play in the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1989 (he won), it was clear that he was an exceptional, thoughtful musician (not your typical fleet-fingered competition contestant with nothing new to say). Glad to see he got signed by a major label (it should have happened 20 years ago).

        • Petros Linardos says:

          20 years ago? He may have deserved it, in light of market realities. But chances are he’ll now make better recordings. Just as Trifonov and Yuja Wang may make better recordings in 15-20 years.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Surely classical musicians, however devoted to their art, do expect to be paid at some point. They have bills to pay like everyone else.