Hélène Grimaud was born in Aix-en Provence in the south of France in 1969. She studied with Jacqueline Courtin at the conservatory there and subsequently in Marseille with Pierre Barbizet. At the age of 13 she was accepted by the Paris Conservatory where she won the first prize in piano in 1985. In July, immediately after graduating, she recorded Rachmaninov’s Sonata no. 2 and the complete Etudes-Tableaux op. 33 (Grand Prix du disque, 1986). She studied additionally with Gyorgy Sandor and Leon Fleisher. The year 1987 marked a decisive turning point in her career with appearances at MIDEM in Cannes and at the piano festival La Roque d’Anthéron, her first recital in Tokyo and Daniel Barenboim’s invitation to perform with the Orchestre de Paris. Hélène Grimaud has since performed with many of the world’s major orchestras and renowned conductors.
First performs for pianist Dmitri Bashkirov, who becomes an important influence on her playing. Appearance at the Lockenhaus Festival at the invitation of Gidon Kremer, with whom she performs; Kremer and Martha Argerich become further important influences in her career.
Debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, followed by appearances with leading orchestras in the USA and Europe. Settles in the USA. New York recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum; European debut with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Temirkanov (Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto no. 2) at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Tours Germany with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi.
Debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker led by Abbado (Rachmaninov, Concerto no. 2).
Highly successful tour of Spain with Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra; performs with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Abbado at the Lucerne and Pesaro Festivals.
Performs and records Brahms’s Concerto no. 1 with Kurt Sanderling and the Berlin Staatskapelle (Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, 1999).
New York Philharmonic debut with Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 under Kurt Masur. Gri¬maud and the photographer J Henry Fair establish the Wolf Conservation Center, a private, non-profit-making educational facility in South Salem (Westchester County, NY), to promote conservation of this threatened species.
Debuts with the Boston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Soloist in a European festival tour with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Performs Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 with the Berliner Philhar¬moniker and gives a solo recital in the Philharmonie which is filmed for TV broadcast.
Debut in Amsterdam with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly (Ravel, Concerto in G). Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 in Paris, and at the London Proms with the Orchestre de Paris and Eschenbach. In January 2002 she is appointed an “Offi¬cier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture.
Signs an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Gives world premiere of new work by Arvo Pärt at London’s Tate Modern and performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall. Festival appearances at the London Proms and Edinburgh.
Records Pärt’s Credo in the composer’s presence; the recording also features Coriglia¬no’s Fantasia on an ostinato and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Tempest Sonata (Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, 2004). Publication in 2003 of her book Wild Harmonies (“Variations sauvages”) in which she talks about her life as a musician and her environmental work with wolves (international release in September 2006).
Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 in San Francisco; US tour with the Russian National Or¬chestra (Bartók, Concerto no. 3); Beethoven’s Concerto no. 5 on a European tour with Michael Gielen. Records the Second Sonatas of Chopin and Rach¬maninov, plus Chopin’s Barcarolle and Berceuse, and Bartók’s Concerto no. 3 with Boulez and the LSO (German Record Critics Award, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2005; Midem Classic Award, 2006), both released in 2005.
Records Reflection – music inspired by Clara Schumann, including her husband Robert’s Piano Concerto, songs by Clara herself, and solo and chamber music by Brahms (release: 2006). Echo Award in the category “Instrumentalist of the Year”. In October 2005 her second book Leçons particulières is published.
Appearances throughout the USA, Europe and in Japan, including concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, St. Petersburg Philhar¬monic, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, San Francicso Symphony Orchestra, Gul¬benkian Orchestra, Vienna Symphony and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (London Proms), as well as recitals at New York’s Carnegie Hall, with the LSO Chamber En¬semble and at festivals including the Lucerne Festival and the Musikfest Bremen.
Concerts include appearances in the USA, Canada and Europe with the Dallas, Chicago and Toronto Symphony orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, Russian National Or¬chestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Berliner Philhar¬moniker and Berlin Staatskapelle. With the Dresden Staatskapelle and Fabio Luisi she performs Beethoven’s Concerto no. 5 on tour throughout Europe, and also with the Strasburg Philharmonic Orchestra in France and Germany, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Germany, the Israel Philharmonic Or¬chestra in Tel Aviv, and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the USA. Recitals in Los Angeles, Luxemburg, Vienna and Germany. Appearances at the Caramoor Summer Festival with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Aix-en-Provence Festival with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Verbier Festival (with Maisky and Quasthoff), and the Salzburg Festival. Release of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 5 with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Vladimir Jurowski.
Performs concertos in the USA with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Carnegie Hall, Beet¬hoven, no. 5), the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Bartók, no. 3), the Washington National Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven, no. 4); in Europe with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Beethoven, nos. 4 & 5), the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Ravel, G major), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (on tour in Israel; Beethoven, nos. 4 & 5), the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Schumann; Rachmaninov, no. 2), Dresden Staats¬kapelle (Schumann), the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (Rachmaninov, no. 2), Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Brahms, no. 2); with the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala (Brahms, no. 1) and in Japan with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orches¬tra (Beethoven, no. 5). Solo and chamber-music recitals in London, New York, France and numerous German cities; festival appearances in Istanbul, Verbier, and Lucerne. A special highlight is her appearance at the Last Night of the Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall; the concert will be broadcast live around the world. Grimaud records works by J. S. Bach, including the Harpsichord Concerto no. 1 and three Preludes and Fugues, and transcriptions of Bach by Busoni, Liszt and Rachmaninov (release: autumn 2008).
Scheduled appearances include a tour with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under the direction of Vladimir Jurowski in France, Germany and Switzerland; performances of Bach’s Piano Concerto BWV 1052 in Spain, Italy and Germany with the Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra; numerous recitals with Lisa Batiashvili and Truls Mørk playing works by Brahms, Shostakovich and Schumann in Spain, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; appearances at the Verbier Festival and concerts in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy.