Silver medalist and winner of the Krystian Zimerman Prize at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin has emerged as one of the most important pianists of his generation. Recipient of the Ordre des arts et des lettres...
Silver medalist and winner of the Krystian Zimerman Prize at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin has emerged as one of the most important pianists of his generation. Recipient of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec and of the prestigious Career Development Award conferred by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, he was awarded the Prix Denise-Pelletier in November 2022, becoming the youngest recipient in the history of the Prix du Québec.
He has been invited to many major festivals such as La Roque d’Anthéron and the Nohant Festival in France, the Prague Spring Festival, the Chopin and his Europe Festival in Warsaw, the Lanaudière Festival and the George Enescu Festival in Bucarest. As a soloist, he has performed with many ensembles including the major Canadian symphony orchestras (Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Metropolitan, Quebec City, Edmonton, Calgary, etc.) as well as the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, OFUNAM (Mexico), Les Violons du Roy and I Musici de Montréal. He has worked with such renowned conductors as Kent Nagano, Rafael Payare, Bernard Labadie, Antoni Wit, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Aziz Shokhakimov, Peter Oundjian, Jacques Lacombe, Fabien Gabel, Carlo Rizzi, John Storgårds, Alexander Prior, Giancarlo Guerrero, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui, Otto Tausk, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, Kazuki Yamada, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Jonathan Cohen. Charles Richard-Hamelin is also active as a chamber musician. He has performed with Andrew Wan, James Ehnes, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Marc-André Hamelin, the Dover Quartet, the New Orford Quartet, the Apollon Musagète Quartet and the Meccore Quartet, among others. A graduate of McGill University, the Yale School of Music and the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, he studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon, Boris Berman, André Laplante and Jean Saulnier.
Charles Richard-Hamelin has recorded eleven albums, all released on the Analekta label (Outhere Music). Five of these are dedicated primarily to the solo piano works of Frédéric Chopin; there are also four recordings with Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the OSM. He has also recorded concertante works: both Chopin piano concertos with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, and Mozart’s Piano Concertos nos. 22 and 24 with Les Violons du Roy, conducted by Jonathan Cohen. Six Félix awards (ADISQ) and a JUNO in 2022 saluted the quality of these albums, which have been received widespread acclaim from critics around the world.
On the album Mozart: Concertos nos. 20 & 23, with Jonathan Cohen and Les Violons du Roy. Released by Analekta.
This recording is a joy. Richard-Hamelin delivers a polished and elegant performance, the phrasing clearly articulated, while under Cohen’s skilful baton, Les Violons du Roy prove a formidable and sensitive partner.
This second Mozart collaboration between Charles Richard-Hamelin and Les Violons du Roy is a thoroughly joyful listen. The soloist is elegant in two of the composer’s best-loved concertos. His delicate touch draws out a golden, bell-like resonance that contrasts beautifully with the chamber strings, whose period bows ensure the texture is never too rich or Romantic. ★★★★★
From the intense opening of No. 20 to the joyful arrival of No. 23, Charles Richard-Hamelin and Jonathan Cohen form a compelling Mozart partnership.
On the album Schumann: The Three Violin Sonatas. Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-Hamelin. Released by Analekta.
Wan brings to the table a poetic litheness, precision, silvery purity and tonal clarity, inflecting Schumann’s limpid phrases with a gentle ease, complementing Richard-Hamelin’s velvet-gloved sonority and glowing cantabile to perfection.
Effortlessly beautiful playing from both performers coupled with exemplary recording quality makes for another outstanding release.
After recording the sonatas for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven, a triptych that won numerous awards, including the Juno for Classical Album of the Year – Small Ensemble (2022) and an ADISQ award, Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-Hamelin continue their fruitful collaboration by performing the complete sonatas for violin and piano by Robert Schumann (1810-1856). A perfect work to highlight the complicity that has developed between the concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the pianist who won the silver medal at the 2015 Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition.
On the album Chopin: 24 Préludes – Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise Brillante.
Richard-Hamelin describes this set of pieces as a microcosm of Chopin’s piano music as a whole, adding, “it is Chopin at his most beautiful, heart-wrenching, experimental, dissonant, sometimes even violent. It is a fascinating journey through the human psyche and my interpretation aims to show precisely that.
On the album Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonatas for Violin and Piano (vol.2): Sonatas Nos. 1,2,3 and 5. Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-Hamelin. Released by Analekta.
The Canadian musicians treat the Op 12 and Op 24 sonatas with bountiful finesse and discernment, bringing vibrancy to the light-hearted interplay and poetic elegance to passages in which lyricism is paramount.
This remarkable pianist shapes each phrase with careful attention, then links it to the text one in a way that tells a compelling story from beginning to end. […] If there is one defining characteristic of Richard-Hamelin’s playing it’s how he wields the tools of musical rhetoric – stretching time by slightly slowing down and speeding up, and playing with the silences between notes – to ensure that the narrative tension never goes out of the piece he is playing.
The young pianist’s strength, splendour and sense for emphasis were equally captivating as his enormous ability to convey dream, poetry and longing.
Charles Richard-Hamelin is clearly a musician-pianist: fluent, multi-faceted and tonally seductive […] Melodic inflection is curvaceous, natural and discreetly sensuous.
Richard-Hamelin has bold, original ideas about the music he plays, the emotional reservoirs to back them up and the technical equipment to convey them without distraction.