HOLDREGE — Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin saw his life change when he won the silver medal at the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015 in Warsaw, Poland.
Richard-Hamelin said about the experience: “This silver medal was, of course, incredibly unexpected and has single-handedly changed my whole life. I’ve never performed professionally outside of Canada before the Chopin and now I have confirmed engagements in Canada, the USA, Poland, France, Spain, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.”
Three years later, Richard-Hamelin now performs in venues across the globe. His 2018-19 concert season includes more than 75 performances across Canada, Asia and Europe, including Paris, Lyon, Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver.
Add to that, a performance at The Tassel in Holdrege.
Richard-Hamelin will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to perform from the classical piano literature repertory that helped make him famous. The concert is part of The Tassel’s Performance Season.
A press release from the jury at one of Richard-Hamelin’s competitions stated, “The tone that he produced from the piano was beyond the capabilities of the actual instrument. He created sounds that were orchestral and soloistic, and he 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 perhaps one of the finest performances of this work we have ever heard on any professional stage.”
Strong words for the 29-year-old performer.
As a soloist, he has performed with more than 50 ensembles, including the main symphony orchestras of Canada 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. Richard-Hamelin has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Kent Nagano, Antoni Wit, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Carlo Rizzi, Alexander Prior, Giancarlo Guerrero, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui and Jean-Marie Zeitouni.
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. The pianist also has released recordings of Beethoven and Enescu.
Reviewer Robert Harris of The Globe and Mail said of Richard-Hamelin: “His sense of time, his sense of harmony, above all his structural originalities are immensely sophisticated and daring. Richard-Hamelin seemed to be aware of the total Chopin — not just melting us with liquid line after liquid line of Chopin’s famous melodies, but exposing inner voices and harmonic twists in both left and right hands.”
Pat Underwood, director of The Tassel, understands the importance of this concert.
“If not for the very generous support of major sponsors Mary Anna Anderson and Bruce Hendrickson, it would have been simply impossible for us to book this performance,” she said. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear an artist of this caliber without driving many miles and spending more on a single ticket than the cost of our entire season. I hope people won’t waste this chance.”