Inspired by Bach : Hélène Grimaud


"Intet nytt under solen", Bach er og har vært inspirasjonskilde for svært mange skapende mennesker - uavhengig av kunstform og sjanger. Albert Schweitzer mente alt fører til Bach, i forståelsen at Bach var et vendepunkt som alt pekte frem mot før, og alt i ettertid pekte tilbake til. 

Renaissance woman Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.

Grimaud was born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence and began her piano studies at the local conservatory with Jacqueline Courtin before going on to work with Pierre Barbizet in Marseille. She was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire at just 13 and won first prize in piano performance a mere three years later. She continued to study with György Sándor and Leon Fleisher until, in 1987, she gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo. That same year, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris: this marked the launch of Grimaud's musical career, characterised ever since by concerts with most of the world's major orchestras and many celebrated conductors.

Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999 - just two of many notable musical milestones - Grimaud made a wholly different kind of debut: in upper New York State she established the Wolf Conservation Center.

When I think of Bach´s music, I have the feeling that God owes Bach a lot. Without him many humans wouldn´t know that God is existing.

- Hélène Grimaud

When we work on a piece of music, we'll often read the biographies of the composer and learn about what was going on historically and artistically. But I believe that the connection to a piece of music is something much more personal and mysterious than all of these bits of information.

- Helene Grimaud

Hélène Grimaud is the author of three books, "Retour à Salem", "Variations Sauvages" and "Leçons Particulières."

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.

Bach - Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (arr. Ferruccio Busoni)

From the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie.

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