Grimaud Plays Brahms
Artis—Naples Masterworks Series
Andrey Boreyko, conductor
Hélène Grimaud, piano
Mendelssohn — Overture to Son and Stranger
R. Schumann — Symphony No. 4
Brahms — Piano Concerto No. 1
Prelude at 7pm
All Masterworks tickets include same-day admission to The Baker Museum. Special museum hours on day of performance: 10am-8pm. Thursday night’s performance is generously underwritten by George and Joyce Kempton. Friday evening's performance is generously underwritten by Jeanette Montgomery Evert and Herbert P. Evert.
Hélène Grimaud boasts multiple talents that extend beyond the instrument she plays with poetic expression and technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and writer.
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, in 1987, she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris.
This marked the launch of Grimaud’s musical career, characterised ever since by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and many celebrated conductors. Her recordings have been critically acclaimed and awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo), Midem Classic Award and the Echo Award.
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, Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation Center.
Her love for the endangered species was sparked by a chance encounter with a wolf in northern Florida; this led to her determination to open an environmental education centre. “To be involved in direct conservation and being able to put animals back where they belong,” she says, “there’s just nothing more fulfilling.” She is also a member of Musicians for Human Rights, a worldwide network of musicians and people working in the field of music to promote a culture of human rights and social change.
Grimaud has also found time to pursue writing, publishing three books that have appeared in various languages. Her first, Variations Sauvages, appeared in 2003. It was followed in 2005 by Leçons particulières and in 2013 by Retour à Salem, both semi-autobiographical novels.
Despite her divided dedication to these multiple passions, it is through Grimaud’s thoughtful and tenderly expressive music-making that she most deeply touches the emotions of audiences. Fortunately, they have been able to enjoy her concerts worldwide, thanks to the extensive tours she undertakes as a soloist and recitalist. She is also an ardent and committed chamber musician who performs frequently at the most prestigious festivals and cultural events with a wide range of musical collaborators, including Sol Gabetta, Thomas Quasthoff, Rolando Villazón, Jan Vogler, Truls Mørk, Clemens Hagen and the Capuçon brothers.
Recent performance highlights have included two collaborations with the Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon. She also appeared at the opening-night gala of the new Philharmonie de Paris and gave two summer concerts at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (New York State) in her role as 2015 artist-in-residence.
In 2015-16 she performed with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at St Petersburg’s White Nights Festival and at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden’s Summer Festival.
In 2016, Grimaud will release Water, which brings together works by nine composers: Berio, Takemitsu, Fauré, Ravel, Albéniz, Liszt, Janáček, Debussy and Nitin Sawhney.
On her recent album featuring music by Brahms, Classic FM said: “Hélène Grimaud turns her thrilling, deeply personal brand of music-making to Brahms’s first and second Piano Concertos. Throughout her playing is sensitive, graceful, and commanding without ever feeling forced.” Limelight magazine called it an “utterly remarkable, inspired and inspiring recording”.
Duo, the album she recorded with cellist Sol Gabetta just prior to the Brahms concertos, won the 2013 ECHO Award for “chamber recording of the year”. Previous releases include her readings of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 19 and 23 and the 2010 solo recital album Resonances, which showcased music by Mozart, Berg, Liszt and Bartók.
Grimaud’s deep dedication to her musical career, both in performances and recordings, is reflected and reciprocally amplified by the scope and depth of her environmental and literary pursuits.
Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko is one of the most exciting and dynamic conductors to emerge from Eastern Europe in recent years. He is currently Music Director of the Naples Philharmonic as well as the Orchestre National de Belgique, and serves as Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi in San Sebastian.
As a guest conductor, Boreyko has worked with many of the world’s most renowned orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Münchner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Wiener Symphoniker, Filarmonica della Scala, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, and most recently The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.