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The sound within

© Mat Hennek / DG
© Mat Hennek / DG

Hélène Grimaud launched a 4-date series of concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra last night, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (5, 7 and 8 December) and at Carnegie Hall, New York City (6 December).

Due to illness, Philadelphia Orchestra’s Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is replaced by San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Hélène has also chosen to modify the concerts’ program, originally planned to include the Second Concerto, as she explains it in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Speaking about her decision to return to upstate New York, the home of the Wolf Conservation Center she founded in 1999, she says: “The move to Europe was a chance to develop a different relationship to my instrument and profession.” She also reveals where she draws her personal strength from: “Athletes have been doing mental imaging for ages. Why should it be any different for a performer?” she said. “Hearing the piano in your head and feeling the physical sensation that goes along with the sound should be a big part of what you’re doing.”