Call to ban Trifonov in Kansas City

Call to ban Trifonov in Kansas City


norman lebrecht

April 14, 2022

The Kansas City Star has published a McCarthyist article calling for Daniil Trifonov to be banned from the city unless he issues a stronger denunciation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The paper writes:

Some patrons of the Harriman-Jewell Series say they’re concerned at Trifonov’s perceived reluctance to criticize Russian behavior in Ukraine. Apart from a generic statement claiming “every war is a tragedy,” the artist hasn’t issued a firm declaration opposing Russian atrocities. The fact that he lives in the United States makes his reluctance to denounce war crimes even less understandable.

The otherworldly Trifonov has issued one statement at the outbreak of war, and nothing since:


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A post shared by Daniil Trifonov (@daniiltrifonov)

The local promoter has responded to the newspaper with strong support for the artist.



  • Musician says:

    Are they also concerned about the war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan too? Or is it selective concern?
    So much easier to erase than to create.

    • MacroV says:

      You have plenty of American artists (and citizens in general) who were critical of U.S. involvement in those countries. And the United States, whatever the faults of those interventions, never said Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t real countries. Kind of a lame “whatabout” here.

    • Harry Collier says:

      Not to forget Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. They haven’t.

    • ChrysanthemumFan says:

      Were these wars marked by bombings on kindergartens and maternity wards?

  • M McAlpine says:

    We wait for the self-righteous virtue signallers to climb on the band wagon

  • christopher storey says:

    Good for Kansas City. Trifonov should be sent home to Russia and told to stay there

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Home for him is NYC. He is married to an American. He has lived almost all of his adult life outside of Russia and was educated outside of Russia (I believe primarily the U.S.).

      Perhaps you would be well to be better informed before spouting off of what you apparently don’t know much about.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Trifonov’s home has been the US for a decade and a half. I agree with your main point.

        Regarding his education: Trifonov went to study with Sergeri Babayan in Cleveland when he was 18. His formative years, however, were at the Gnessin Music School in Moscow, where he trained from age 9 to 18.

      • Elizabeth Ferido-Bohlin says:

        All the more he should…in the strongest term…denounce the War Criminal Putin whose havoc he is wreaking to innocent people is despicably of satanic proportion.

    • zayin says:

      Or worse, being told to stay in Kansas City.

    • Annabelle Weidenfeld says:

      And you should be sent to a place one cannot mention on the internet. Did it occur to you or Kansas City that the Russian people are also innocent victims of Putin, his cronies and their monstrous actions? Trifonov has never been a Putin supporter and has never mixed in politics. He has been living in the USA since at least 13 years, married to a fellow Dominican student at Cleveland Institute of Music. Are you capable of imagining what it must be like having family living in Moscow right now and facing the strong possibility that you may never return to the country where you were born and grew up? If you have nothing better to do than sit and wag your finger, make sure you become more selective and point it in the right direction; there are many to choose from and Daniil Trifonov is not among them.

    • Nik says:


  • G says:

    So wait on, let me get up to speed with your logic; Currentzis releases a statement with SWR calling for peace (and tries to put on a concert raising funds for Ukraine), and you claim that it’s not enough and that his criticism and opinion needs to be more clear and direct. Trifonov releases a statement also simply calling for peace without further criticism of Putin or elaborating further on his own opinions and you say that the people who are criticising him are McCarthyists. I guess this all speaks for itself then…

    • Opera dude says:

      Let me enlighten you on the difference between Currentzis and Trifonov. Currentzis lives and works in Russia, holds official positions there and has a general sponsor VTB Bank which is under western sanctions. Trifonov lives in the States since he was 18, he was educated here, has home in NYC, and is a US citizen. He had no association with Russia
      See the difference?

      • MacroV says:

        That’s not true. He visits and performs in Russia with some regularity and has worked many times with Gergiev.

      • Observer says:

        “had no association with Russia” ???

      • G says:

        Of course there are differences. For example, Currentzis is not Russian, Trifonov is, and Currentzis holds a principal job outside of Russia, which Trifonov does not. What differences do these points or your points make? The point which I don’t think is unfair to make is that, irrespective of the other points you and I can raise, Norm discusses the same single issues — their statements, which are nearly identical in essence — and manages to draw utterly opposing judgements on them both. No matter how angelic he is compared Currentzis or really anyone at all, to suggest nonetheless that Trifonov has not benefitted from dirty Russian money at various points too is laughable, not to mention his continued association with the questionable Pletnev. What enlightenment were you talking about exactly, “dude”?

        • Rik says:

          How his association with Pletnev, who has not been convicted of anything despite your despicable slur, has anything to do with this topic escapes me

      • Nick says:

        NO. We do NOT see the difference, Opera dude!! Trifonov is much worse (if that is possible)!

      • RW2013 says:

        Naming C and T in one thought is an insult to T.

        • G says:

          RW2013, to some extent I wouldn’t disagree. T is brilliant musically, and would never sanction this war. The fact that he doesn’t speak out further only serves to demonstrate how difficult it really is for Russians to do so without serious ramifications for themselves and their families. Everyone here knows that it’s now a criminal offence in Russia to speak out against the war in the terms that non-Russians are calling for, right? I’m sure all the people who know that but think they should speak out anyway would do so themselves were they in that situation and face the criminal consequences and the god knows what that their families would subsequently face too. Fascinating that that means that it’s the right wing who are virtue signalling when it comes to this subject.

    • Joel Stein says:

      Currentiz’s tour was funded by a Russian Bank. Big difference. If Daniil has any free time, per haps he can reschedule Boston which has missed his last two recitals due to COVID.

  • Zvi says:

    Someone tried the same before his recent concerts in Israel. It was ignored and the protester vanished.

  • alexis piantedoux says:

    too much….really too far and too much…Kansas City is following the step of Montreal Symphony Orchestra that canceled the young Russian pianist Malofeev, and many others artists that made similar statement against the war….what next?? stop this stupid non sense on Russian artist, politics should stay out from music….music should inspire politics and politicians, not the opposite

  • Josephine Gobel says:

    Typical Jewell nitpicking.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    We need to engage some understanding for Russian artists who live outside Russia, often with family and friends back home who will be vulnerable to the regime. Trifonov must be in a particularly difficult situation, having maintained close ties to Russia (especially with Gergiev) while living and working in the West and building a family here (including his child who presumably is a U.S. citizen).

    On the subject, I must pay tribute to Yulianna Avdeeva, who recently performed Rachmaninoff with the Pittsburgh Symphony and then an encore by the Ukrainian refugee Valentin Silvestrov. That brief performance was haunting.

  • Wolfgang says:

    Someone show us the space between Daniil Trifonov and Denis Matsuev:

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Welcome to the wild wild west, Mr Trifonov.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Leave The Triff alone!!

  • Harry Collier says:

    Joel McCarthy is alive and well and living in Kansas.

  • Tim says:

    I think people forget that many artists of Russian heritage have family living in Russia. It’s true that Trifonov lives in the US and has done for some time. However, he has family in Russia. Denouncing Putin can put his family into serious risk. Also, let’s be realistic, a concert pianist, or even 100 of them, denouncing Putin (who does merit harsh criticism) will do absolutely nothing to change the situation. However, government officials making harsher sanctions or even providing aid would make a significant impact. Those officials, however, are not waiting to hear what pianists think before they make decisions.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Where to start with the double standards, eh? Some Russians are criminals for, er, having done nothing and others are saints for, er, having done nothing.


  • Tage says:

    He needs to issue a stronger condemnation. This is not a time to be on both sides.

    Kudos to the KC Symphony!

    • Another Comment says:

      Where on Earth did you see KC Symphony involved in this? Did you actually bother to read through?

    • Annabelle Weidenfeld says:

      The KC Symphony is rightfully supporting Trifonov. Your kudos, for what it is worth, belongs to the idiotic Kansas City Star. I think you deserve a subscription.

  • Jim says:

    Looking forward to all the Americans publicly denouncing overseas wars and atrocities conducted by the US military.
    Not holding my breath though.

  • Ria Calitz says:

    For goodness sake,leave artists out of this mess!Artists like Daniil Trifonov treads a fine line as he is well known and his family in Russia could be easy targets.Put yourself in his shoes.He has just been nothing but an asset to the world of classical music .All he wants to do is bring beauty to the world.Leave him in peace to do what he was born to do.These acidic statements does him a great injustice.

  • Boris Haroussy says:

    The next step will be demanding from Jewish musicians to strongly denounce crucifixion of Jesus. Because every anti-Semite knows that every Jew is responsible for this heinous crime, even if he/she was born 2000 later in a different part of the world.

  • Pro freedom of thinking New Yorker says:

    Pure McCarthyism! Leave the artists alone. Banning artists do not save Ukrainian’s lives.

  • JE Paisley says:

    I wish all of you, on either side, would simply shut the hell up. If there is anything we have to much of, besides inflation/crime/taxes it is Entitled. Blowhards. Signaling. Their. Virtue. Daniil is an artist, nothing more-nothing less and as such, he owes you NOTHING but his best performance. You are not entitled to run him through some idiotic social consciousness litmus test. And your “opinions” are not worth a bucket of warm spit.