David Grimal violinist

David Grimal, violinist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?The only way to save the world is through the arts. I realized this while I was a student at the Institut de Sciences Politiques in Paris. I just had finished my studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and I was looking for an existential sense to my life. I was 19, and that’s when I met Philippe Hirshhorn, who became my mentor. Philippe was the most extraordinary musician and violinist I have ever heard. Unfortunately he died at the age of 50 in 1996, leaving a feeling of deep injustice and sadness in the hearts of those who had the chance to know him. Thanks to him, or because of him, I have embraced the career of a musician.What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?The biggest challenge of a professional musician is to be able to grow and love music more every day. The ‘career’ as it is expected to work nowadays is not always the best thing that can happen to a musician in order to develop in an artistic and human way. The other biggest challenge is to keep the right balance between the energy required by music and the energy required by my kids!Of which performances/recordings are you most proud?I am never proud of anything, I am always looking forward to the next attempt. Because neither a concert nor a recording will ever represent any kind of achievement, it’s just always a little stone on a path lost somewhere in infinite time…Which particular works/composers do you think you perform best?It’s the same answer as above, but I do have some close friends like Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Ravel, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Bruckner, Mahler, Schumann, Mozart, Debussy, Janacek, Bartòk and many others….I love them all a lot.What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?Inspiration can come from anything – love from and for my family, my friends, museums, books, nature, and especially silence…How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?I have a very intensely active schedule, between my orchestra Les Dissonances, solo playing, recordings, chamber music, learning new music, my music conferences Lumières d’Europe, and teaching; so I am just trying to survive amongst an ocean of repertoire, which is probably for me the only way to be able to swim.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?I love the Pierre Boulez Hall in the Philharmonie de Paris, amongst others.What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?Give them quality and not just what is commercial What is your most memorable concert experience?The next one. As a musician, what is your definition of success?Becoming a beloved grandfather one day.What advice would you give to young/aspiring musicians?Never surrender.What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?Just stop treating them as though they don’t understand and start feeding them beauty and complexity – they will love it.What’s the one thing in the music industry we’re not talking about which you think we should be?Music and industry are not made for each other. The only question is which one of the two will die first…

What’s next? Where would you like to be in 10 years?I have many planned projects around the world also combining music with dance, theatre, video. I would love to have a place where I could be resident, and do what I want with a few millions to spend!!What is your idea of perfect happiness?I don’t think I have this in me.What is your most treasured possession?The earth.What is your present state of mind?I have the feeling of being extremely lucky, and I want to try everything I can to help keep the world in one piece.

David Grimal has recently released two new albums of a very different character – I. David Grimal (violin) & Itamar Golan (piano) : Poulenc – Stravinsky – Prokofiev & II. David Grimal (violin) : JS Bach – The Six Sonatas & Partitas BWV 1001-1006 for solo violin. Both are available on the La Dolce Vita label (distributed by PIAS in the UK).

David Grimal, began playing the violin at the age of five. He won the First Prize in violin and chamber music at the Paris Conservatory in 1993. Afterwards he did his postgraduate studies with Régis Pasquier at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, he participated in several master-classes most notably those of Isaac Stern and Schlomo Mintz. His fortuitous meeting with Philippe Hirschorn, the man who was to become his mentor, was decisive both musically and in that it opened the doors to an international career. More recently, he won the European Community Prize -1996, the European Radio Union Prize -1996, and received the “Credit National” Fellowship Award. He was also honored as the Classical discovery of the MIDEM 1997.

David Grimal has performed the main European cities and around the world (Asia, Australia, the Americas and Africa). He has performed as a soloist and in chamber ensembles in Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Hong-Kong, Taiwan, New York (Lincoln Center), Vienna (Musikverein), as well as on the main stages in Paris (Theatre du Chatelet, Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Auditorium du Louvre, Radio-France …) and in such festivals as Ravinia, The Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Menton, Festival de Musique en mer, Radio-France Montpellier, Prades, Risor, Stavanger, Schwäbische Frühling, Colmar, Menton, les Folles Journées… He has given radio and television performances on various European channels.


Image credit William Beaucardet