Trifonov was born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia on 5 March 1991. Both of his parents were professional musicians. He began studying the piano at age five, and gave his first concert performance with an orchestra at age eight, losing one of his baby teeth during the performance. He studied under Tatiana Zelikman at Moscow’s famous Gnessin School of Music.
At 17, Trifonov won Fifth Prize at the 4th International Scriabin Competition in Moscow, and First Prize at the 3rd International Piano Competition of San Marino, where he also received the Special Prize for the best performance of Chick Corea’s composition.
In 2010, he played at the Rathausplatz in Vienna's Town Hall Square as one of the seven finalists of the Eurovision Young Musicians. In 2010, Trifonov became a medalist of the distinguished XVI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he won Third Prize and the Special Prize of Polish Radio for the best mazurka performance.
In 2011, he won the First Prize at the 13th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, winning also the Pnina Salzman Prize for the Best Performer of a Chopin piece, the Prize for the Best Performer of Chamber Music and the Audience Favorite Prize .
A few weeks after winning the Rubinstein Competition, Trifonov was awarded the First Prize, Gold Medal, and Grand Prix at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Trifonov also won the Audience Award and the Award for the Best Performance of a Chamber Concerto.
He was awarded the Franco Abbiati Prize for Best Instrumental Soloist by Italy’s foremost music critics. Previous recipients of the prestigious award include such keyboard giants as Maurizio Pollini, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, Radu Lupu, and András Schiff.
On 23 April 2014, he premiered his Piano Concerto in E flat minor.
2010 - Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition - Double CD album - Fryderyk Chopin
2010 - DUX - Frédéric Chopin
2011 - DECCA - Frédéric Chopin
2012 - Mariinsky - Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Liszt transcriptions of Schubert and Schumann (SACD)
2013 - Deutsche Grammophon - The Carnegie Recital (Liszt, Scriabin, Chopin, Medtner) - ECHO Klassik Award and Grammy nomination
2013 - ArtHaus Musik - Shostakovich
2015 - Deutsche Grammophon -  (Rachmaninov, Trifonov) - Grammy nomination
2015 - Daniil Trifonov: The Magics of Music & The Castelfranco Veneto Recital, by Christopher Nupen - Silver Medal at the New York Film and Television Festival and the Accolade Award, 2016 ICMA DVD of the Year Award (Video Documentaries)
2016 - Transcendental - Daniil Trifonov Plays Franz Liszt (Etudes S. 139, S. 141, S. 144, S. 145) - Deutsche Grammophon
Pianist Martha Argerich told the Financial Times in 2011 that Trifonov had "everything and more", adding that "What he does with his hands is technically incredible. It’s also his touch – he has tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that.”
The Tchaikovsky piano concerto recording was described by "International Piano" magazine as "A simply remarkable disc ... Daniil Trifonov's playing is a heady mix of super-virtuoso and the ability to generate the utmost tenderness ... He demonstrates an enviable variety of touch and shading ... the couplings are as intelligent as they are magnificent".
The BBC Radio 3 CD Review programme of 10 August 2013 opined that: "Now the 21 year old pianist is obviously the real deal, this isn't all flash and dash although there's plenty of both as you all hear but listen out for the expressiveness of Trifonov's approach, the way he plays with the tempo and keeps some of his powder dry for the coda where he almost leaves the orchestra trailing in his wake, and they sound as if they're having a ball as well."
In 2017, Alex Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker wrote:
…Daniil Trifonov creates a furor. …[as did] Vladimir Horowitz…, Paderewski…, Sviatoslav Richter, the young Martha Argerich, and the young Evgeny Kissin… Furor pianists exhibit intelligence as well as dexterity; they often make curious interpretive choices that cause head-shaking at intermission. They give a hint of the unearthly, the diabolical.… Trifonov has a rare combination of monstrous technique and lustrous tone. The characteristic Trifonov effect is a rapid, glistening flurry of notes that hardly seems to involve the mechanical action of hammers and strings.
- "Biography". Daniil Trifonov.
- "Results of the 3rd International Piano Competition of San Marino". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24.
- "Dallas Chamber Music Society, "Gala Event: Daniil Trifonov with Sergei Babayan" March 3, 2014"".
- "Eurovision Young Musicians - Final". Archived from the original on 2010-11-23.
- "Results of the XVI International Chopin Piano Competition".
- "Results of the XIII Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition". Archived from the original on 2011-05-13.
- "Final Results of the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition". Archived from the original on 2011-07-03.
- "TRIFONOV - THE CARNEGIE RECITAL - Deutsche Grammophon - Universal Music".
- Clark, Andrew (8 July 2011). "Strains of mood music - Martha Argerich interview – Financial Times". Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Clarke, Colin (Nov 2012). "Orchestrated Piano Music". International Piano (1206). Rhinegold.
- McGregor, Andrew. "Summer CD Review". BBC 3 CD Review. BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Ross, Alex (9 January 2017). "Daniil Trifonov's Sleight of Hand — On his latest recording, he plays some of the most taxing piano writing ever put on paper with stupefying effortlessness.". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved 22 January 2017.