You all know Hélène Grimaud, that gorgeous concert pianist who was raised by wolves and then grew up to put out high-concept Deutsche Grammophon records. Well Hélène Grimaud (not pictured) just had one of those dreams where you get to the final exam, open your test booklet, and discover that you've been studying THE WRONG TEXTBOOK ALL YEAR LONG, only it WASN'T A DREAM, IT WAS REALLY HAPPENING, and a hapless Bryant Manning had to break it to her. So Hélène Grimaud, it says here you're going to be playing Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, why don't you tell us a little about that:
“I’m playing the Fourth, aren’t I? Am I not playing the Fourth?!?” she asks. As we double-check the CSO website, we assure her it’s the Fifth. The petite French pianist guffaws at her mistake and says, “Oooh-kay, then. I guess I’ll have to raise a red flag with management.” At first we’re impressed with Grimaud’s acumen, that she can easily switch gears from prepping for the famous G-major concerto to committing to memory the “Emperor” in a matter of hours. Then, just as we’re set to send this article to the printers, the CSO e-mails a press release: “Valentina Lisitsa to replace Hélène Grimaud.” The release quotes Grimaud’s management: “An unfortunate miscommunication has occurred between Hélène Grimaud and her artist management company regarding the repertoire for her concerts with the CSO…. This discrepancy has been discovered too late for Ms. Grimaud to have time to prepare Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 to her satisfaction.” Oops.PIANO FAIL. Sigh. Well, condolences to Hélène Grimaud, and to the city of Chicago, and best of luck to Valentina Lisitsa. More on the story here.