Born in Aix en Provence in 1969, Hélène Grimaud studied the piano at the Conservatoire in her native town and subsequently in Marseille with Pierre Barbizet. At the age of thirteen, she was accepted by the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, where she won the first prize in Jacques Rouvier's class in 1985. She studied additionally with György Sandor and with Leon Fleischer.
The year 1987 marked a decisive turning point in her career with appearances at MIDEM in Cannes and at the piano festival La Roque d'Anthéron, her first solo recital in Paris and an invitation to perform with the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Barenboim.
Hélène Grimaud has performed with many of the world's major orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Berliner Staatskapelle, Royal Philharmonic, Bayerische Rundfunk, Tonhalle Zurich, Göteborg Symphony, the Oslo, Rotterdam, Israel and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo NHK Symphony. In North America, she has worked with the Boston, San Francisco and Toronto symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. In addition to Barenboim, she has collaborated with conductors including Abbado, Blomstedt, Bychkov, Conlon, Chung, Davis, Dutoit, Hogwood, Järvi, Janowski, Masur, Sanderling, Sawallisch, Temirkanov, Ashkenazy and Zinman.
In 1999, Hélène Grimaud signed an exclusive recording contract with TELDEC CLASSICS INTERNATIONAL. Before that, she recorded for Teldec's sister company, ERATO, who released her discs of Schumann's Piano Concerto and Richard Strauss's Burlesque with David Zinman/Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with Kurt Sanderling/Staatskapelle Berlin, which won Concerto of the Year at the Cannes MIDEM Festival in January 1999 and the Gershwin and Ravel piano concertos with David Zinman/Baltimore Symphony, as well as Brahms's piano pieces Opus 116 - 119.
Hélène Grimaud's début recording for Teldec featured Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic coupled with the sonatas Op. 109 and 110. Her second Teldec release, released in March 2001, features Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy coupled with the Variations on a Theme of Corelli and several Études Tableaux.