SHOWBIZ: Dances with Brahms – Style – New Straits TimesFrom classical music to wolves. French artiste Helene Grimaud tells Subhadra Devan about her passions CLASSICAL pianist Helene Grimaud is renowned for her original and almost spiritual interpretations of classical music. But the 44-year-old French artiste says her greatest achievement is the creation of a wolf conservation in New York. "I love animals. I started it after an encounter with a hybrid, a part she-wolf and part dog, in Florida. Wolves are biodiversity engineers. They help preserve the balance between animals, plants and maybe even humans. We can learn so much from these animals. After that encounter, I was very moved to do something for the plight of these beautiful animals. If I hadn't taken up music, I would be working with animals," says Helene who has a degree in animal behaviour. "I would have wanted to be a veterinarian," she adds with a gentle smile. Helene co-founded the Wolf Conservation Centre in South Salem, in 1999, and now spends as much time at the centre as she does on the ivories. She was in Kuala Lumpur as the last stop of her 2013 Asian tour which saw her perform with orchestras from South Korea to Singapore. The multi-award winning artiste played the difficult Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Claus Peter Flor, just before the Chinese New Year. She started playing the piano "relatively late, at the age of 8", and by 13, she was accepted by the Paris Conservatory.