Skip to content Skip to footer


Hélène Grimaud is the author of four books, “Retour à Salem”, “Variations Sauvages”, “Leçons Particulières” and “Renaître” (September 2023).

In 2023 she collaborated with Mat Hennek on his fine art photography book “Sounds of Spheres” published by Steidl.


« C’est une petite fille, à la sortie d’un concert, qui m’a donné l’élan qui me manquait. Elle m’a demandé, simplement : La musique, ça sert à quoi ? J’ai été, un court instant, aussi déconcertée que ses parents. Oui, pour quoi faire la musique ? Et pour quoi faire tous ces musiciens grâce auxquels nous continuons à entendre un son qui traverse les siècles ? Tous ces artistes qui ne produisent ni ne fabriquent rien dans un monde pourtant dévolu à la matière, à la technique, un monde où, justement, la parole ni le dialogue ne sont plus vraiment le diapason de nos échanges. De là, ce livre, et l’idée que porte son titre Renaître. Ce n’est encore pas assez d’être né : il importe de se remettre au monde, et de l’aimer. » Hélène Grimaud

“It was a little girl, after a concert, who gave me the momentum I was missing. She simply asked me: What’s the purpose of music? For a brief moment, I was as bewildered as her parents. Yes, what is the purpose of making music? And what about all those musicians thanks to whom we continue to hear a sound that travels through centuries? All these artists who neither produce nor manufacture anything in a world nonetheless devoted to matter, to technique, a world where, precisely, words and dialogue are no longer really the tuning fork of our exchanges.

Hence this book, and the idea behind its title Reborn. It is still not enough to be born: it is important to put oneself back into the world, and to love it.”

Retour à Salem

Published on 7 October 2013 in French by Albin Michel.

One evening in Hamburg, Hélène Grimaud enters an antique shop. She doesn’t know that at this precise moment, her life is now Elsewhere, caught in a series of events that will take her back from Europe to the United States, to South Salem, the refuge of her wolves, where she renews, with them, her fight against the destruction of nature.

Autobiography? Fantastic novel? This book that alternates self-discovery tale and personal journal takes us into a vertigo of reality and fiction. In the footsteps of the Romantics that she interprets to worldwide acclaim, Hélène Grimaud invites us to open our eyes, ears and heart.

Variations Sauvages / Wild Harmonies

In November 2003 Hélène Grimaud’s first book, “Variations Sauvages”, was released in French by the French publishing house, Robert Laffont. It has since been translated into English, (entitled “Wild Harmonies”, published in September 2006 by Riverhead / Penguin in the US), Japanese (published in February 2004 by Random House Kodansha), Dutch (entitled “Wildernis Sonata”, published in October 2004 by The House of Books) and German (entitled “Wolfsonate” published in February 2005 by Random House).

“Variations Sauvages” is in large part an autobiography. Hélène Grimaud talks about her life as a musician and about her environmental work with wolves. The book, however, offers more than pure life history. Grimaud recounts much about the difficulties of growing up, the pressures of being a musician and about finding a niche in life. She juxtaposes these with the history of wolves, drawing the reader in to a better understanding of this animal and how it has been wrongly persecuted by man over the centuries.

Leçons particulières

Midway between novel and autobiography, her second book is the confession of an “enfant terrible” in a century full of doubt. In the opening pages of “Leçons particulières” Hélène Grimaud admits that she feels a certain “disease”. She decides to leave New York to go on a journey through several continents in search of herself, taking the reader on a soul-searching journey to places inhabited by music, love, and spirituality. We encounter Liszt, Brahms, and Wagner as we stroll the streets of Venice, Rome, and Hamburg.

This journey is full of beauty, unique encounters, and, ultimately, happiness. The book recounts an inner, very personal journey. At the end of her quest, Grimaud regains possession of herself thanks to the supreme key, the one Rimbaud calls the “musical key”: love.

Her fast-paced account is punctuated by wit and philosophical reflection. Structured like a spiritual movie, halfway between Jack Kerouac and Hermann Hesse, the book is a stirring portrait of an unusual artist and an independent woman. Her intimate reflection will both enchant the readers of Variations Sauvages and attract new ones.