Deutsche Welle (Germany), 11 May 2023

Video: Hélène Grimaud | A portrait of the esteemed concert pianist and devoted nature lover – Deutsche Welle

“Hélène Grimaud is truly captivating. For many years now, the French pianist has been wowing the classical world with her sensual, intense playing, as well as her unfaltering commitment to making the world a better place. Her broad musical repertoire encompasses not only the more recognizable piano works that allow pianists to demonstrate their brilliance on the world’s stages, but also includes contemporary pieces – such as those by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. In addition to music, the star pianist has a passion for wolves, which she wants to see saved from extinction. This portrait reveals Hélène Grimaud as a philosophical, contemplative artistic personality, who has uniquely harmonized her shared loves of music and nature – developing a deep sense of humanity in the process.”

Posted in Featured, News, Press

The Times (UK), 29 April 2023

Feature: “The 100 best pieces of classical music — as chosen by the critics” – The Times (UK)


The 100 best pieces of classical music as chosen by the critics

The Times has just released their list of the 100 best classical recordings of all time, as selected by their music critics. Among the artists featured is Hélène Grimaud and her renowned recording of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 54 (Staatskapelle Dresden, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Deutsche Grammophon). This iconic work is featured in the section titled “Love,” which highlights some of the most romantic and memorable recordings in all of classical music.


Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto (1845)

The recording Hélène Grimaud: Reflection, Staatskapelle Dresden/Salonen (Deutsche Grammophon)

Robert Schumann’s devotion to Clara Schumann is literally spelt out in his Piano Concerto, using her first name as a musical cypher. He knew, no doubt, that she would be the one playing it — and Clara championed the work even when audiences were lukewarm. Now it’s one of the most beloved concertos in the repertoire for its free-spirited invention and poetic sensibility, assets that Hélène Grimaud has in spades. Her recording is part of an album that celebrates Robert, Clara and Brahms, who was devoted to both Schumanns and whose decades-long relationship with the widowed Clara may have included more than just affectionate letters.

The 100 best pieces of classical music — as chosen by the critics
Posted in News

The Music of Silence: Hélène Grimaud and Konstantin Krimmel Pay Homage to Ukraine’s Greatest Living Composer

© Mat Hennek / Deutsche Grammophon

© Mat Hennek / Deutsche Grammophon

The gentle music and quiet nostalgia of some of the most exquisitely beautiful poetry ever written flows through Hélène Grimaud’s latest album. Valentin Silvestrov’s Silent Songs includes contemplative settings of verse by Golden and Silver Age Russian poets Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Baratynsky, Zhukovsky, Yesenin and Mandelstam, Ukrainian lyrics by Taras Shevchenko, and Russian translations of poetry by Keats and Shelley. Grimaud presents a dozen pieces from this haunting tribute to the innate music of poetic words. She is joined by the young baritone Konstantin Krimmel, winner of the 2018 International Helmut Deutsch Lied Competition.

Silent Songs AlbumHélène Grimaud discovered Silvestrov’s Silent Songs almost 20 years ago when she received a recording of the complete song-cycle as a birthday gift. Enchanted by the composer’s music, she soon added a number of his piano pieces to her repertoire and began a long search for the ideal voice to partner in Silent Songs. Her search came to an end when she was introduced to German-Romanian baritone Konstantin Krimmel. They presented their Silvestrov programme at the Stienitzsee Turbine Hall near Berlin at the end of August 2022, performing it in the presence of the octogenarian composer, who has lived in Berlin as an exile from his war-torn homeland since March. It was on this occasion that Grimaud and Silvestrov met for the first time. The concert, which also included songs by Brahms, was filmed by DG and will premiere on STAGE+ on 21 January 2023. The resulting album is released today.

“It is music which I find deeply touching in its authenticity and transparency of feelings,” observes Hélène Grimaud. “It is utterly poetic, never pretending to be something else. I am always happy to see how much it resonates with people. When I first asked to programme some of the pieces in concert, there might perhaps have been some scepticism. But I’ve always felt that we interpreters are an open channel between the world of the composer and the inner world of the audience. It’s only in that moment of acquaintance, when the sound resonates, that the connection happens, and it’s a powerful one. I’ve never not experienced it in sharing Silvestrov’s music with the audience, and that’s a beautiful thing to live through.”

Parts of Silent Songs (1974–77) were first performed in Kyiv in 1977, and the premiere of the complete cycle took place in Moscow in 1985. The work marked Silvestrov’s transition away from his place among the leaders of the Soviet avant-garde to become a composer of music rooted in the traditional materials of melody and harmony. His mature works evoke universal emotions through their use of such clear and simple musical forms as lullabies, waltzes, nocturnes and serenades to create what he calls “metamusic”, shorthand for metaphorical music – a kind of universal language. “I believe that music – even if it cannot be ‘sung’ – is song nevertheless,” he notes; “it is neither philosophy nor a world view, it is the song of the world about itself, as it were a musical testimony to existence.” The complete song-cycle comprises 24 songs and takes nearly two hours to perform without a break. “The Silent Songs and my piano cycle Kitsch Music (1977) are silence set to music”, comments the composer.

The emotional ebb and flow of human existence finds pure expression in the words and music of Silent Songs. Grimaud and Krimmel open their album with two sublime settings of elegiac love lyrics by Yevgeni Baratynsky, “Song can heal the ailing spirit” and “There were storms and tempests”, and continue with a spellbinding treatment of Keats’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci” in Russian translation. Other highlights include “Farewell, O world, farewell, O earth” from Shevchenko’s Son (“The Dream”), the poem that precipitated his imprisonment and exile by the Tsarist authorities; “O melancholy time! Delight for eyes!” from Pushkin’s Autumn; Shelley’s “The Isle”; “I will tell you with complete directness”, Osip Mandelstam’s hymn to harsh reality; a heartfelt setting of Pushkin’s “Winter Journey”; and the yearning nostalgia of “Autumn Song”, to lyrics by the short-lived Sergei Yesenin, among the most popular of all 20th-century Russian poets.

“Song can heal the ailing spirit” is set for release as an e-single on 20 January, with the e-single of “Autumn Song” to follow on 17 February. Three e-videos are also scheduled for release on 20 January, 24 February and 7 April respectively, the last coinciding with the album’s release as a vinyl LP.

Posted in Featured

Broadcast Premiere: Hélène Grimaud & Konstantin Krimmel – Songs by Silvestrov & Brahms


Source: Stage+

A special place for unique encounters: pure nature meets an industrial monument at the Turbine Hall at Lake Stienitz, not far from Berlin. In this space, once filled with the noise of machinery, pianist Hélène Grimaud and the young star baritone Konstantin Krimmel come together to explore that most direct and intimate musical form – the song. The first meeting point for them is the music of Valentin Silvestrov, the Ukrainian composer in whose footsteps Hélène Grimaud has been moving for more than two decades. They perform a selection from his meditative Silent Songs alongside Brahms’s Lieder und Gesänge, Op. 32.

PREMIERE – 01/21/2023, 14:00 CET

1. RE-LIVE – 2. RE-LIVE – 


Watch here


Posted in News

Fall/Winter Tour in United States and Canada

Photo © Mat Hennek/DG

Photo © Mat Hennek/DG

Hélène is touring the US and Canada through the end of the year and into 2023, with a trio of concerts in Dallas, TX kicking things off earlier this month. The tour will continue on to Cincinnati, OH (Oct 21, 22, 23), Atlanta, GA (Oct 27), Stanford, CA (Nov 6), Vancouver, BC (Nov 25 & 26), New York City, NY (Dec 1), Santa Barbara, CA (Dec 7), St. Louis, MO (Jan 21 & 22) and Northridge, CA (Jan 26).

The tour program includes Schumann’s Piano Concerto, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, recital of works by Chopin, Debussy, Silvestrov, and Satie, as well as a performance with the Wild Up ensemble at the Soraya in Northridge featuring works by Silvestrov and Mozart.

View the details on Hélène’s Calendar 

Posted in News