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Virtuoso Pianist Hélène Grimaud Opens Palm Beach Symphony Season

On Sunday, November 7 at 3 p.m., Palm Beach Symphony will open its 48th season at the Kravis Center with Music Director Gerard Schwarz at the podium and virtuoso pianist Hélène Grimaud joining for Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor.

“Hélène is one of the greatest pianists in the world today,” Maestro Schwarz said. “We have performed the Schumann Piano Concerto together numerous times, and she has a special command over the piece. I’ve known her since she was in her early career, and I admire her passionate and expressive playing.”

Grimaud gave her well-received debut recital in Tokyo in 1987, the same year renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris marking the launch of a musical career characterized by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and celebrated conductors. Hélène Grimaud began the 2021-22 season with a performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Her forthcoming plans include performances of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with the Houston Symphony and Matthias Pintscher (November) and the Seattle Symphony and Peter Oundjian (December); the Schumann in Zurich with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich and Paavo Järvi (January 2022) and with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hrůša on tour in Bad Kissingen, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Cologne and Dortmund (February); and Mozart’s Piano Concerto K466 with the Camerata Salzburg in Luxembourg, Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Paris and Hamburg (February/March). Her recordings have received numerous accolades including the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, Grand Prix du disque, Record Academy Prize (Tokyo), Midem Classic Award, Echo Klassik Award and inclusion in iTunes Classical Essentials series. Inducted by the French government into the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur for her contribution to and impact on the world of classical music, she has also established herself as a writer, committed wildlife conservationist and compassionate human rights activist.

Maestro Schwarz welcomes audiences back to the concert hall with a specially curated program. Internationally recognized for his moving performances and innovative programming, he is also the Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival and Mozart Orchestra of New York. Also in South Florida, he is the Distinguished Professor of Music, Conducting and Orchestral Studies at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra. His hundreds of honors and accolades include being the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America; seven Emmy Awards; 14 GRAMMY nominations from the Recording Academy and its first “IMPACT” lifetime achievement award; and eight ASCAP Awards including its Concert Music Award. His extensive catalogue of more than 350 recordings includes The Gerard Schwarz Collection, a 30-CD box set, and a recently released recording of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 with the New York Chamber Symphony. His memoir, Gerard Schwarz: Behind the Baton, was published by Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group in 2017.

With more than 300 world premieres to his credit, Maestro Schwarz has always felt strongly about commissioning and performing new music. In this concert, Palm Beach Symphony performs its first work by a living Black woman with Valerie Coleman’s Umoja, a joyful piece with folk influences that takes its name from the word for “unity” in Swahili.

“Valerie is an extraordinary composer of our time and is being commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and orchestras all over the country,” Maestro Schwarz said. “Umoja was commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra which performed it to standing ovations in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall. We are delighted to bring this piece to our community.”

The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, which Maestro Schwarz calls one of the greatest symphonies ever written. He said, “To begin the season with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth – his penultimate symphony – is very special to all of us.”

Opening night will include two community collaborations as Palm Beach Gardens High School Pep Band, under the direction of John Rodriguez, will be performing outside the lobby entrance as guests arrive and artists from Zero Empty Spaces will be in the lobby with artworks they created incorporating musical instruments. The instruments are part of the Musical Masterpieces collaboration in which these instruments will be among those auctioned to benefit Zero Empty Spaces and the Symphony.

The concert is dedicated to Dale Archer McNulty who served as the President of Palm Beach Symphony’s Board of Directors from 2008 until his death earlier this year. Lugano Diamonds, Findlay Galleries, HSS Florida, PNC Private Bank, The Colony Hotel, Hilton West Palm Beach, Provident Jewelry, IYC, Palm Beach Design Masters, Braman Motorcars, Dodie and Manley Thaler and the Thaler/Howell Foundation, the Addison Hines Charitable Trust and Gent Row LLC are proud sponsors of Palm Beach Symphony. Programs are also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. 

Tickets are $25-$95 and are available online at; by phone at (561) 281-0145; or by visiting the Palm Beach Symphony Box Office, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Kravis Center is located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd in West Palm Beach. 

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