For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed world-wide, 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 contemporary composers Qigang Chen and James MacMillan. From the very start of his career, he delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, which he transcribed himself to play on 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 takes Thibaudet to 14 countries, including extensive concerts in Asia with the Singapore, NHK, and Guangzhou symphony orchestras and the Malaysian, Hong Kong, and China philharmonics. As Artist-in-Residence at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he plays the Bach Triple Concerto with Thomas Adès and Kirill Gerstein, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, chamber music with symphony musicians, and Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety both in Boston and at Carnegie Hall. Thibaudet is considered one of the premiere interpreters of the solo part for this symphony, which he will also perform with the Atlanta and National symphony orchestras; the San Francisco and Houston symphonies; the China Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra at home and on tour in Germany, Austria, and Israel, throughout Bernstein’s centennial season.
Other season highlights include Ravel with the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, Cleveland Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra; a recital in Carnegie Hall with violinist Janine Jansen; a tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in California, and a trip to his hometown to play Qigang Chen’s Er Huang, which was written for him, with the Orchestre National de Lyon.
In 2017-18 the Colburn School extends Thibaudet’s Artist-in-Residency an additional three years and has announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice. His passion for education and fostering young musical talent extends to his tour with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, playing Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie together in many of the great concert halls of Europe, including the Concertgebouw, the new Elbphilharmonie, and the Teatro alla Scala.
Thibaudet’s recording catalogue of more than 50 albums has received two Grammy nominations, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, as well as Gramophone and Echo awards. Last season he released to great acclaim Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin (2010), which featured big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, variations on “I Got Rhythm,” and the Concerto in F. 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 interpreters and 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 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 world of fashion, film and philanthropy. He played Aaron Zigman’s soundtrack for Wakefield, a drama by Robin Swicord, which was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work. Thibaudet was soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, and recorded Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. 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 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 honour 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.