Ahead of performances with WASO and ASO, the French-Canadian pianist explains the challenges of Chopin and Saint-Saëns.

What first drew you to the piano?

My parents were not musicians, but we moved to a house where there was a piano in the basement. My grandmother, who used to live with us at that time, came with us to visit the new house, and she sat down at the piano, which was a big surprise for me, because I thought I knew her very well. Immediately I said, how does that work? She explained the whole story, that she had to give up the piano when she was young because of the Depression and then she started to teach me how to read the notes. I was very eager, and it all happened very quickly. She found a teacher for me, and that’s how it started.

Did you listen to many recordings growing up?

My parents had an old, kind of, piece of furniture on which you played LPs – one of those huge pieces in the living room. So I remember having a hard time just leaning over to put on those LPs. Once I started learning the piano, either the...