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Charles Richard-Hamelin

Photo: Elizabeth Delage

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Charles Richard-Hamelin stands out on the international music scene as a “highly sensitive” pianist (Gramophone), driven by “a great depth of feeling without the slightest condescension” (Le Devoir). He is recognized as “fluent, multifaceted and tonally seductive… a technician of exceptional elegance and sophistication” (BBC Music Magazine).

In 2015, he received the Silver Medal at the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and the Krystian Zimerman Prize for best performance of a sonata. He also won Second Prize at the Concours musical international de Montréal and Third Prize and the Special Prize for best performance of a Beethoven sonata at the Seoul International Music Competition, in South Korea.

Charles Richard-Hamelin is in great demand as a guest performer at the world’s greatest classical music festivals, including the International Piano Festival of La Roque d’Anthéron in France, the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the International “Chopin and his Europe” Festival in Warsaw, the Festival International de Lanaudière and the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest. He has worked with renowned conductors, including Kent Nagano, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Aziz Shokhakimov, Peter Oundjian, Jacques Lacombe, Fabien Gabel, Carlo Rizzi, Alexander Prior, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Howard Shelley, Antoni Wit and Jonathan Cohen. He has also performed as a soloist with famous orchestras around the world, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Québec, Toronto, Edmonton, Warsaw, Singapore and Hiroshima symphony orchestras, as well as the Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Violons du Roy, I Musici de Montréal, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, OFUNAM (Mexico City), the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra, the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra and Sinfonia Varsovia.

Charles Richard-Hamelin has recorded five albums to this day, all published on the Analekta label. In 2015, he first recorded acclaimed performances of Chopin’s last works. Launched in 2016, his second album brings together works by Beethoven, Enescu and Chopin, recorded in concert at the Palais Montcalm in Québec City. His discography then was enriched by two more CDs, one devoted to the first part of a complete collection of Beethoven violin and piano sonatas, recorded with the solo violinist of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Andrew Wan. His latest offering, devoted to Chopin’s two piano concertos, was recorded live in concert at Montréal’s Maison symphonique with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under the direction of Kent Nagano. These albums received awards and enthusiastic reviews from the leading music critics.

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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