CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Grimaud is pronounced "Gree-moh"
Pianist Grimaud plays Beethoven and Brahms in April 6 Hancher concert
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- French pianist Helene Grimaud will play works by
Brahms and Beethoven in a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 6, in Hancher
Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. The concert is part of Hancher's
1996-97 IES Industries Piano Series.
The program features three sets of compositions by Brahms -- the Fantasies,
op. 116; the Intermezzi, op. 117; and the Six Pieces, op. 118. Grimaud
will also perform Beethoven's Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, op. 110.
Grimaud commanded the attention of the music world at the age of 15,
when her recording of the treacherous Rachmaninoff second piano concerto
was released. Critics were nearly dumbstruck by the teenager's masterful
grasp of a piece with such daunting technical and musical demands. A second
recording of music by Liszt, Chopin and Schumann quickly followed, confirming
that a major new talent was on the scene.
The critic of England's Gramophone magazine concluded, "It's a
long time since I've encountered a young artist with so intuitive an understanding
of what music is all about. . . . She just seems to know where every phrase
is going, and why." The American Record Guide hailed her as "one
of the most striking pianistic personalities to appear on recordings in
recent years. . . . burning with passion and poetry allied to effortless,
When Grimaud made her New York debut in 1991, New York Times critic
John Rockwell praised her for her "ravishing command."
Now in her mid-20s, Grimaud is a regular visitor to the major concert
stages of Europe, North America and the Far East. She has been featured
as a soloist with the Orchestre de Paris, the Cleveland Orchestra, the
London Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other leading orchestras
world-wide, performing with star conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel
Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Charles Dutoit and Christopher Hogwood.
Grimaud's debut recording won the Grand Prix du Disque, France's top
recording award, and she recently signed an exclusive recording contract
with the Erato label.
Little has been typical in Grimaud's skyrocketing career. She did not
begin her study of the piano until the age of nine, when she took up the
instrument to combat the boredom of school, and only three years later
she was accepted as a student at the Paris Conservatory.
She did not turn out to be a compliant student. Rather than working
on the conservatory's etude regimen of short concert pieces, she spent
her time attacking the big concertos and sonatas on her own. Defying her
teacher, who refused to write a recommendation, she entered the Tchaikovsky
competition on her own initiative, and soon thereafter decided to do without
formal teachers entirely.
Depending instead on occasional interactions with a hand-picked circle
of musical friends, including Daniel Barenboim, Gidon Kremer and Martha
Argerich, and studying the interpretations of Glenn Gould and other pianists
she admired, Grimaud became an independent, globetrotting autodidact while
still in her teens.
Now, although she has been before the public for a decade and has released
a half-dozen recordings, it is still common for critics to wonder at her
interpretive depth and marvel at a musical maturity that seems so far beyond
Tickets for Grimaud's April 6 Hancher concert are $28, $24 and $21.
UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with
Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members
17 and younger are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office
personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair
access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is
equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Further information about this event is available on Hancher's World
Wide Web homepage, at <http://www.uiowa.edu:80/~hancher/>.
IES Industries is the corporate sponsor of Hancher's 1996-97 Piano Series
through the University of Iowa Foundation.