Silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman Prize at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin is standing out today as one of the most important musicians of his generation. In 2014, he also won the second prize at the Concours Musical International de Montréal and the third prize at the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. Charles is the recipient of 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 more than fifty ensembles including the main symphony orchestras of Canada (Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Métropolitain, Québec, Edmonton, Calgary…) as well as with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, OFUNAM (Mexico), Les Violons du Roy and I Musici de Montréal. He has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Kent Nagano, Antoni Wit, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Aziz Shokhakimov, Peter Oundjian, Jacques Lacombe, Fabien Gabel, Carlo Rizzi, Alexander Prior, Giancarlo Guerrero, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui and Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Charles Richard-Hamelin is a graduate from McGill University, the Yale School of Music, the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and has studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon, Boris Berman, André Laplante et 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). The first volume of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the OSM, was released in the fall of 2018 and his next projects include both Chopin Concertos with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Kent Nagano.
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 marvelous 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)
“Richard-Hamelin is a supremely artistic, highly sensitive yet thoroughly masculine young pianist, whose strikingly original ideas remain true to the spirit of Chopin.” Patrick Rucker, December 2016
“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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