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Charles Richard-Hamelin

Photo: Elizabeth Delage

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Silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman award of the best sonata at the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015, Charles Richard-Hamelin is standing out as one of the most important pianists of his generation. He also won the second prize at the Montréal International Musical Competition and the third prize and special award for the best performance of a Beethoven sonata at the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. In April 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Career Development Award offered by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.

He has appeared in various prestigious festivals including the Prague Spring Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron in France, “Chopin and his Europe” Festival in Warsaw and the Lanaudière Festival in Canada. As a soloist, he has performed with various ensembles including the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, OFUNAM (Mexico), Korean Symphony Orchestra and I Musici de Montréal.

Originally from Lanaudière in Québec, Charles Richard-Hamelin studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon, Boris Berman and André Laplante. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in performance from McGill University in 2011 and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music in 2013 and received full scholarships in both institutions. He also completed an Artist Diploma program at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal in 2016 and currently works on a regular basis with pianist Jean Saulnier.

His first solo CD, which features late works by Chopin, was released on the Analekta label in September 2015 and received widespread acclaim from critics throughout the world (Diapason, BBC Music Magazine, Le Devoir).

A second album, recorded at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City in May 2016, was released in September 2016 under the same label. The artist presents works of Chopin, Beethoven and Enescu. Over forty recitals and more than twenty-five orchestral concerts in Canada, Japan and Europe, are confirmed today.

What the media says…

“One of the main points of interest of the finals was to compare 24-year-old Charles Richard-Hamelin to international competitors. He did wonderfully well. First, for his rich and warm sound. Then, for his integrity and humble expressiveness. His hands seemed to caress and melt into the keyboard.” — Christophe Huss, Le Devoir (June 4, 2014)

“Charles Richard-Hamelin ended the semis with a superbly absorbing concert where he seemed to follow his hands like a child after a butterfly. After an astonishing Pour le Piano by Debussy and some sweetly imaginative Scriabin, he performed Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 opulently and with unbelievable ease. He transmits love for the instrument.” — Lev Bratishenko, The Gazette (June 1, 2014)

“Charles Richard-Hamelin immediately captured our interest with a depth of musicianship and maturity that was evident from the opening of the Bach Partita. The tone that he produced from the piano was beyond the capabilities of the actual instrument. In turn, he created sounds that were orchestral and soloistic, and wove intricate and beautifully voiced lines as a seasoned string quartet might. His structural and musical understanding of the large-scale Chopin sonata was exceptional, and as one juror remarked “perhaps one of the finest performances of this work I have ever heard on any professional stage”.” — Press release from the jury of the 2015 WMCT CDA Competition (Midori Koga, Kerry Stratton, Wiwona Zelenka) (May 7, 2015)

“The newcomer is already a pianist of high calibre, with an extremely solid technique, a vivid musicality and a great care for sonority.” — Claude Gingras, La Presse (July 8, 2010)

“Charles Richard-Hamelin went for an intimate bonding with Rach 2 that transformed the concerto into a mesmerizing symphonic fantasy.” — Laurence Vittes, The Huffington Post (June 6, 2014)

“Charles Richard-Hamelin’s delicate, well-articulated and stylistically appropriate touch could be observed in a marvellous performance of Mozart’s G-major piano trio.” — Jens Christian Hansen, Viborg Stifts Folkeblad (Denmark) (August 21, 2014)

“Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin was especially impressive driving the Chopin concerto with flair.” — Sujata Dey, roverarts.com (May 2, 2014)

“Performing during the first night of the finals, he chose Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. With precision and a palette of nuances, he led the audience through a musical journey, brimming with musicality and sustaining the tension throughout. In the adagio, Richard-Hamelin revealed a softer side and created a crystal-like melody. He also succeeded in showcasing multiple contrasting voices. One hopes to hear him in concert more often during the upcoming years.” — Christine ML Lee, La Scena Musicale (October 2014 Vol. 20-2)

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