The Gilmore

Hélène Grimaud among first performers at Philharmonie de Paris

Jan. 13 performance at Philharmonie de Paris - CHARLES PLATIAU / POOL/EPA

Hélène Grimaud continues her streak of performing in extraordinary conditions, following December’s stint in a water-filled armory.

The latest, Wednesday’s concert with the Orchestre de Paris, was the very first event held at a brand new performance venue on the edge of Paris. The Philharmonie de Paris cost 386 million euros to create, three times the initial estimate, over an 8-year construction period. The effort was publicly funded and “born of a generous ambition [and] a love for music,” according to French news sources.

A view of the Philharmonie from the side - Jacques Demarathon/AFP

Grimaud, who performed a solo at the beginning of Ravel’s G Major Concerto, was among the first of several all-star French performers to be heard in the hall, which has been called anything from an intergalactic aircraft to a scorched pile of fallen bricks due to its highly avant-garde construction. Applause filled the halls in support of Philharmonie architect Jean Nouvel and the acoustic masterpiece he created.

A reviewer for The Guardian wrote that the hall sounded “pretty stunning,” even with the acoustic testing left to be done. “I can’t remember a new hall sounding this good or this characterful at its opening… There is a combination of dazzling clarity and generous depth in the sound that makes the whole range of orchestral possibility feel like a vivid physical presence.”

The hall certainly looks stunning, and the sold-out performance at the Philharmonie de Paris is just the first stop of Grimaud’s 2015 tour. She’ll visit North America in February with performances in California, Ann Arbor and Chicago, then in April for her Kalamazoo performance at The Gilmore.