Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control.
Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until 1987, when she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris, marking the launch of Grimaud’s musical career. It has been defined ever since by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and many celebrated conductors.
A committed chamber musician and an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2002, she has also performed at the most prestigious festivals and cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators, including Sol Gabetta, Rolando Villazón, Jan Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen, Gidon Kremer, Gil Shaham, and the Capuçon brothers. Her vast contribution to and impact on the world of classical music were recognised by the French government when she was admitted into the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (France’s highest decoration) at the rank of Chevalier (Knight).
Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 – just two of many notable musical milestones – Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: establishing the Wolf Conservation Center in upper New York State. She is also a member of the organisation Musicians for Human Rights, and for several years, she has pursued a writing career, publishing three books that have appeared in various languages.