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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. Charles was recently awarded the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec and the prestigious Career Development Award offered by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.

He has appeared in various prestigious festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron in France, the Prague Spring Festival, the “Chopin and his Europe” Festival in Warsaw and the Lanaudière Festival in Canada. As a soloist, he has performed with various ensembles including the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Singapour Symphony Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, OFUNAM (Mexico City), Orchestre Métropolitain, National Arts Center Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Violons du Roy, I Musici de Montréal, Sinfonia Varsovia and the Poznań Philharmonic. He has played under the baton renowned conductors such as Kent Nagano, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Aziz Shokhakimov, Peter Oundjian, Jacques Lacombe, Fabien Gabel, Carlo Rizzi, Alexander Prior, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui and Jean-Marie Zeitouni.

Originally from Lanaudière in Québec, Charles Richard-Hamelin studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon, Boris Berman and André Laplante. He is a graduate from McGill University, the Yale School of Music, the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and now works on a regular basis with pianist Jean Saulnier.

His first solo recording, which features late works by Chopin, was released in September 2015 on the Analekta label and received widespread acclaim from critics throughout the world (Diapason, BBC Music Magazine, Le Devoir) as well as a Felix Award (ADISQ). A second album, recorded live at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City with music by Beethoven, Enescu and Chopin, was released in the fall of 2016 and also had a very positive welcome (Gramophone, La Presse, The WholeNote).

Charles Richard-Hamelin’s 2017-2018 season highlights include three tours in Japan, the recording of the first volume of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Montréal Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Andrew Wan as well as over 60 concerts in Canada, Asia, Europe and the USA.

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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