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Hélène Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence, where she began her piano instruction. Later she undertook studies with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille and, at the age of 12, with Jacques Rouvier at the Paris Conservatoire, where she also took courses with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher. Her international career began in 1987 when she won the Cannes Classical Award and met Daniel Barenboim, who invited her to perform as soloist with the Orchestre de Paris. Since then Grimaud has appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, collaborating with many renowned conductors. In 2008 Grimaud appeared at the Last Night of the Proms, and in 2010 she was “artiste étoile” at LUCERNE FESTIVAL. In the 2010-11 season she performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; she also partnered with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart in concertos by Mozart. Plans for the coming season include her return to the Vienna Philharmonic in concerts to be led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. As a chamber musician, Grimaud has performed with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Jörg Widmann, and Clemens Hagen; she has also appeared with Thomas Quasthoff and Rolando Villazón in art song recitals. In 2002 Hélène Grimaud was named Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2008 Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite; she has received the Echo Klassik Award twice, in 2005 and 2010. Her autobiographical novel Variations sauvages describes her experiences as founder of the Wolf Conservation Center, a project designed to protect wolves; in 2003 she published her travel diary, Leçons particulières.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 17 August 1996 in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, with Claudio Abbado conducting the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra; last appearance was a recital on 10 April 2011 playing by Mozart, Berg, Bartók, and Liszt.