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Jean-Yves Thibaudet


About this Artist

For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed worldwide, recorded more than 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire – from Beethoven through Liszt, Grieg, and Saint- Saëns, to Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to Olivier Messiaen, Qigang Chen, James MacMillan, Richard Dubugnon, and Aaron Zigman.


From the very start of his career, he has delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, including works which he has transcribed himself for the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art.


This season, Thibaudet begins a two-season focus on Debussy’s Préludes. He will play the complete Préludes in solo recitals around the world, with dates in Eindhoven, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Rome, Toronto, Los Angeles, and West Palm Beach; later seasons will include performances throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. Thibaudet also plans two further recital tours this season: beginning in February, he joins cellist Gautier Capuçon and violinist Lisa Batiashvili for a tour of Haydn, Arensky, and Brahms trios across Europe. Then, in May, he rejoins Capuçon for a series of duo recitals throughout the U.S. and Colombia.


In addition to his recital tours, Thibaudet appears as soloist in seven different pieces, performed with thirteen orchestras. He begins the season with one of his signature pieces, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, at the George Enescu Festival; he later performs the concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Dresden Philharmonic, where he is Artist-in-Residence. Thibaudet then joins the National Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Houston Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra in performances of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.2.

In November, Thibaudet brings Aaron Zigman’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, ‘Tango Manos’—which was written for him and which he premiered in 2019—to the Dresden Philharmonic, followed in January by performances with the Hong Kong and Naples Philharmonics; he also performs Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No.2, ‘The Age of Anxiety’, with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Münchner Philharmoniker. Thibaudet joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony for a performance of Scriabin’s Prometheus: The Poem of Fire in February, followed in June by performances with the Wiener Symphoniker.

Performances of Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No.5, with the St. Louis Symphony, and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, with the Dresdner Philharmonie, round out the season’s programming.

Thibaudet has a lifelong passion for education and fostering young musical talent. He is the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. In 2017, the school announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships, funded by members of Colburn’s donor community, to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice.

Thibaudet records exclusively for Decca; his extensive catalogue has received two Grammy nominations, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, and Gramophone awards. His most recent album, 2021’s Carte Blanche, features a collection of deeply personal solo piano pieces never before recorded by the pianist. Other highlights from Thibaudet’s catalog include a 2017 recording of Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring big band jazz orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, and the original version of Variations on “I Got Rhythm.” In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Thibaudet – one of the foremost champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5, released in 2007, he is joined by Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Thibaudet's Aria– Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are Thibaudet's own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations With Bill Evans.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the worlds of fashion, film, and philanthropy. He was soloist on Aaron Zigman’s score for Robin Swicord’s Wakefield; this was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work. He was also soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, as well as Alexandre Desplat’s soundtracks for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Wes Anderson’s 2021 film The French Dispatch. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction at the Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At twelve, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age fifteen, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012. In 2020, he was named Special Representative for the promotion of French Creative and Cultural Industries in Romania. He is co-artistic director, with Gautier Capuçon, of the Festival Musique & Vin au Clos Vougeot.