Believe it or not, it wasn’t the piano that started virtuoso pianist Daniil Trifonov on his musical journey. “My parents never forced me to be introduced to piano,” the soft-spoken Russian tells me over the phone from Deutsche Grammophon’s office in Berlin. “Until the age of five, I never showed any signs of interest. We had an upright at the time but I was never exploring it.”

Both of Trifonov’s parents are musicians, so as a listener he was exposed...

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