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Hélène Grimaud

Hélène Grimaud is a French-born virtuoso pianist known for her fearlessly individual interpretations of standard and lesser-known piano repertoire. Also a devoted wildlife conservationist, in 1999 she founded the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. Grimaud was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1969, and both of her parents worked as teachers. She began exploring the piano when she was seven years old, and she studied with Jacqueline Courtin. Later, she studied with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille, and when she was 13, she was accepted into the Paris Conservatory, where she studied with Jacques Rouvier. After three years at the conservatory, Grimaud won the premier prix in piano performance. She sought further refinement at the conservatory and enrolled in the cycle de perfectionnement under Rouvier; she also received instruction from György Sándor and Leon Fleisher. The following year, she released her debut recording of Rachmaninov's Sonata No. 2 and Etudes-tableaux op. 33, which won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1986. Grimaud began performing outside of the conservatory shortly thereafter and gave her debut recital in Tokyo in 1987. She was invited by Daniel Barenboim to perform with the Orchestre de Paris later that year, and she continued to receive invitations to perform with major orchestras throughout the world. In the 1990s, she released several recordings, including Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major and the live album Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15. She made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abaddo in 1995, and in 1999 she performed with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic for the first time. She also created the Wolf Conservation Center that year. In 2002 Grimaud became an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, and she was honored with membership to the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. It was also around this time that she began an additional career as an author, and in 2003 she published her autobiography, Variations Sauvages, followed by Leçons particulières in 2005, and Retour à Salem in 2013. Also in 2013, she received an Echo Klassik Award for her collaboration with cellist Sol Gabetta on the album Duo. In 2018 Grimaud released the album Memory, which featured the music of Chopin, Debussy, and others. During the 2019-2020 season, she performed at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nezet-Seguin; she appeared in Luxembourg and Munich with MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis; and she toured Germany with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hrusa. Additionally, she performed material from her album Memory throughout the U.S., while also devoting her time to the Wolf Conservation Center. With a focus on the music of Valentin Silvestrov, she issued the solo album Hélène Grimaud plays Valentin Silvestrov in 2022, and the 2023 release Silvestrov: Silent Songs featured a collaboration with baritone Konstantin Krimmel.
© RJ Lambert /TiVo


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