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Pianist Helene Grimaud


The French-born pianist Helene Grimaud is among the most gifted pianists of her generation. The forty-something-year old is not only blessed with great musical ability, but also with some extraordinary mental powers. 

She experiences synesthesia, a condition that causes the physical senses to overlap. In Grimaud's case, this manifests itself as an ability to see and touch music.  In practice, this makes it possible for her to rehearse without a piano and still fully experience the music.

Ms. Grimaud says that from an early age she had extraordinary powers of concentration - a great help when she first began studying music. Over the years her single-mindedness has garnered her a reputation as someone who can get exactly what she wants.  She only plays repertoire of her choosing, and refuses to commit to long periods away from home.

She spoke with WRTI's Jim Cotter backstage at the Kimmel Center.