A symphonic self portrait that premiered in 1830 has become one of the most-performed works in the orchestral repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis discusses this epitome of romantic program music with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
This Sunday afternoon it's a concert from last December at Verizon Hall, with guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and pianist Hélène Grimaud in a performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra featuring the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, and the Symphonie fantastique of Hector Berlioz. The concert had been performed only days earlier at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the reviews were sensational.
Animals and nature are as big a part of Hélène Grimaud’s world as playing concertos with the great orchestras of the world. For years, the concert pianist's earnings went into the creation of the Wolf Conservation Center for endangered species in upstate New York. Then, after seven years of living in Switzerland, she's living back in North Salem, New York where the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns befriended her German Shepherd Chico.
It was around 2008 when virtuoso pianist Helene Grimaud thought about adding the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 to her repertoire. Seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, she calls her love of Brahms "intimate." So intimate that she performs almost every work he composed for piano, solo or otherwise. And her relationship with his first piano concerto runs very deep.
The French-born pianist Helene Grimaud is among the most gifted pianists of her generation. The forty-something-year old is not only blessed with great musical ability, but also with some extraordinary mental powers.
She experiences synesthesia, a condition that causes the physical senses to overlap. In Grimaud's case, this manifests itself as an ability to see and touch music. In practice, this makes it possible for her to rehearse without a piano and still fully experience the music.
By Jim Cotter & Susan Lewis & Jason Peifer & Albert Stumm
This week, a conversation with Helene Grimaud; Jason Peifer examines the health of theater in the Philadelphia Region; Albert Stumm looks at changes in arts education in Public Schools; In our regular look inside the CultureFiles section at GoPhila.com, Susan Lewis explores Fireman's Hall.