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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 20, No. 2

Charles Richard-Hamelin

by Christine ML Lee / October 1, 2014

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 Charles Richard-Hamelin

Charles Richard-Hamelin, who came in second place, won the prize for Best Canadian Artist. Performing during the first night of the finals, he chose Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. 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.

Just before competing in the MIMC, Richard-Hamelin had won third place at the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. Speaking about his experience, he tells La Scena Musicale that he felt a greater stress here, in Montreal, because he knew many of the people in the audience just as many in the audience knew him. While he was performing internationally, no one knew him, whereas in Montreal, the presence of the critics, students, friends, teachers who knew him, as well as his dream come true of playing with the orchestra, created extra stress. In spite of this, Richard-Hamelin managed to enjoy his performance and is proud of his experience.

Richard-Hamelin views each stage of music competitions as concerts. He firmly tries to remain as honest and humble as possible, and less focused on the results. He explains, “I think what the jury appreciates most is the musician behind the pianist rather than the pianist at the forefront.”

It is no wonder that he was extremely surprised when he was honoured with the second-place prize at the MIMC. It meant a lot for him, as it was a prize won on home territory. And indeed, it had been a while since a Canadian pianist had won one of the top prizes at the MIMC.

Hailing originally from Lanaudière (Quebec), Richard-Hamelin moved to Montreal to study with André Laplante at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. With diplomas from McGill and Yale under his belt, the young pianist has received prizes from the TSO National Piano Competition as well as the OSM Standard Life competitions. As the pianist for the Hochelaga Trio, he will be performing in several upcoming concerts.

His current favourite piano piece is Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2


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