Silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman award of the best sonata at the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015, Charles Richard-Hamelin is one of the most important pianists of his generation. He also won the second prize at the Montreal International Musical Competition and the third prize and special award for the best performance of a Beethoven sonata at the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. In April 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Career Development Award offered by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.
As a soloist, Charles has performed with various ensembles including the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Korean Symphony Orchestra and I Musici de Montréal.
Originally from Lanaudière in Québec, Charles Richard-Hamelin studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon and Boris Berman. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in performance from McGill University in 2011 and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music in 2013 and received full scholarships in both institutions. He is now a student of André Laplante at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and also works on a regular basis with Jean Saulnier. His first solo CD, which features late works by Chopin, was released on the Analekta label in September 2015.
"The fondamental qualities that we’ve always seen in this pianist remain the same : a real sonority that comes from his entire body, a large palette of colors and a real poetic sense. With his recent gain of freedom and experience, a true discourse emerges. […] His conduct is always impeccable. By conduct, I mean the architectural and emotional conception of a work, the tempo and mood relations, the dynamic layering. Additionally, when appropriate, a highly sensitive ear to the art of transition. That is exactly what gave him high marks in Warsaw, giving listeners the impression of living an experience, especially in the Third Sonata."
Christophe Huss, Le Devoir (November 27, 2015)
"I had been waiting for such a performance since the beginning of the Competition. The man is every inch an artist, an extraordinarily mature musician who focuses on the beauty of Chopin’s works, which he performs with a high degree of consciousness. He is one of the few who can find a wise balance between the spirit of Chopin and his own individuality, which he demonstrated, for instance, in his masterful interpretation of the Ballade in A-flat major."
Róża Światczyńska, Polish Radio 2 (October 7, 2015)
"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 (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)
"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)