Sensuous impressionist music played by a beautiful French
pianist on a lovely night in June…
Peter Oundjian, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano
June 8 & 9, at 8 pm
Roy Thomson Hall
Toronto, Ontario – Debussy and Ravel virtually
define French music; their dazzling orchestrations and sensual harmonies
took the heavy Germanic style of the time toward music of light and
shimmering colour. Renowned French pianist Hélène Grimaud will
perform Ravel’s brilliant, jazz-infused G Major Concerto in a
programme that includes Debussy’s La Mer, Prélude à l’après-midi
d’un faune, and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.
Some of the mysteriousness and stereotype of the wandering,
passionate soul that it is to be a musician is embodied in French pianist
Hélène Grimaud. At 34, she is well-established as a serious musician.
She has beautiful, delicate features that suggest the youth of an ingénue.
An unusual extracurricular activity includes caring for three British
Columbian wolves who live in a three-acre enclosure on her Westchester
County property. This unusual combo made her irresistible to ABC television,
which featured her on its national news in the US.
French pianist Hélène Grimaud is a regular visitor to the
concert stages of Europe, North America and the Far East. Since her 1988
debut with Orchestre de Paris, she has gone on to appear with numerous
orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Cleveland Orchestra, the
Israel Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony.
Born in Aix-en-Provence, Grimaud began music studies at the Conservatory
there and later in Marseilles. At age 13, she was accepted by a unanimous
vote into Paris’ National Conservatory of Music. She was a rebellious
student, always wanting to go her own way, and sometimes exasperated her
teachers. She completed high school and college degrees by correspondence,
and had the great fortune to cross paths with Daniel Barenboim, who
conducted one of her first public concerts, and Martha Argerich, for whom
she played at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. "I felt I learned so much
from them – they did as much for me as my regular teachers had before."
Grimaud records exclusively for the Deutsche Grammophon
label. Her earlier releases on Erato include the Schumann Piano Concerto and
Richard Strauss’ Burlesque for Piano and Orchestra with the German Symphony
Orchestra Berlin led by David Zinman, a highly acclaimed disc featuring
Brahms’ late piano works, and the Gershwin and Ravel Piano Concertos with
the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On the Teldec label is a live recording of
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 from her debut appearances with the New
York Philharmonic. Her second and latest release is of Rachmaninoff’s Piano
Concerto No. 2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Grimaud has several award-winning releases on Denon, featuring works of
Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Ravel and Brahms.
June 8 is sponsored by General Electric Canada. June 9 is
sponsored by KPMG.