David Grimal and Les Dissonances

David Grimal

David Grimal took up the violin at the age of five. Following his studies with Régis Pasquier at the Paris Conservatoire, he enriched his musicality by studying with prestigious artists such as Schlomo Mintz and Isaac Stern. He spent a year studying at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (“Sciences Po”), then his meeting with the violinist Philippe Hirschorn proved decisive: the latter was to become his mentor.

Appreciated for the purity of his playing and his integrity as an artist, he is invited to perform with all the major international orchestras – Orchestre de Paris (C. Eschenbach, M. Plasson), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (S. Skrowacevski, R. Frübeck de Burgos), Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon (E. Krivine), Capitole de Toulouse (Jap van Sweden), Île-de-France, Pays de Loire, Lille, Strasbourg, Nancy, Cannes, and so on – and with great orchestras all over the world: Mozarteum Salzburg (H. Soudant), Berliner Sinfonie (S. Sloane), Florida Philharmonic (M. Bamert), English Chamber Orchestra (J. Judd), Gulbenkian Lisbon (L. Foster), Sinfonia Varsovia (M. Schønwandt, P. Csaba), Sinfonieorchester Basel (H. Schiff), Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, BBC Philharmonic, Bremen Philharmoniker, the symphony orchestras of Monte-Carlo, Ulster, Stavanger, Rostock, Vorarlberg, Bolzano, Bilbao, Budapest, Bucharest, Taipei, Jerusalem, Mexico, etc.

Many composers have dedicated works to David Grimal. They include Marc-André Dalbavie, Brice Pauset, Thierry Escaich, Jean-François Zygel, Alexander Gasparov, Victor Kissine, Fuminori Tanada, Ivan Fedele, Philippe Hersant, Anders Hillborg, Oscar Bianchi, Guillaume Connesson and Frédéric Verrières.

In October 2009 he was invited to create the Violin Concerto by Thierry Escaich with the Orchestre National de Lyon. In 2011 the recording of this performance received the Classica’s Choc. And in October 2010, he also created Schlag-Kantilene, prelude to the Violin Concerto by Beethoven by Brice Pauset.

Furthermore, for many years now David Grimal has enjoyed a rewarding collaboration with pianist Georges Pludermacher. They perform together all over the world and their recordings, including notably works by Ravel, Debussy, Bartok, Franck, Strauss, Enesco, Szymanovski and Janacek, have received wide press acclaim (Strad Selection, 5 star BBC Mag, Arte selection, ffff Telerama…). David Grimal has also recorded Schubert’s Sonatinas with Valery Afanassiev, and in Dijon, he recorded Bach’s complete Sonatas and Partitas, along with Kontrapartita, a new work dedicated to him by Brice Pauset and commissioned by Dijon Opéra. The latter recording was an immediate success.

David Grimal also founded Les Dissonances, with which is able to explore other repertoires. In an interview for Radio France in 2003, he said: “I am an amateur violinist, in the noblest sense of the word ‘amateur’, although I am of course also a professional musician. But the violin is a means; the instrument is only an instrument. What interests me is the invisible, that something which makes the dancer take flight and causes his gesture to be eternal.”

In 2010, Label Aparté edited two recordings with Les Dissonances: Beethoven – Violin Concerto and
7th Symphony (ffff Telerama, “Le Monde” selection 2010) and the Fourth Seasons from Vivaldi and Piazzola. With Les Dissonances, David Grimal creates in the heart of Paris “The Other Season” : 10 concerts a year for homeless people.

David Grimal teaches violin at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken in Germany. He was made a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2008.

He plays the “ex-Roederer” Stradivarius (1710), and also the “Don Quichotte”, a violin made for him by French instrument maker Jacques Fustier.

Les dissonances

The ensemble Les Dissonances was founded in 2004, on the initiative of David Grimal, as an artists’ collective.

It may seem rather strange to associate the word “dissonance” with a musical ensemble. The spirit of Les Dissonances is one of bringing together disparate worlds – there lies its specificity. The ensemble creates a link between those involved in the various different aspects of music (composition, solo performance, orchestral music, chamber works) and it includes not only musicians from the greatest French and international orchestras, but also talented young artists who are just embarking on their careers.

The ensemble Les Dissonances performs the major works of the symphonic and chamber repertoires (Strauss, Bach, Schubert, Beethoven…) as well as new works by composers of today (Thierry Escaich, Brice Pauset, Marc-André Dalbavie…).

The ensemble varies in size according to the requirements of the repertoire and plays without a conductor. It has absolute freedom in its choice of programmes. Such autonomy enables the musicians to fulfil their first objective, which is to go out and meet new audiences that have tended to be intimidated by “classical” music and to enable them to see the major works of the repertoire in a different light.

Sharing music with audiences means highlighting contemporary composers along with those of the past. David Grimal and Les Dissonances invite audiences to take part in the adventure of music, and at the same time they give music back its universality.

Les Dissonances is subsidised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.