Jean-Yves Thibaudet, considered one of the best pianists in the world, has the rare ability to combine poetic musical sensibilities with dazzling technical prowess. His talent for coaxing subtle and surprising colors and textures from even old favorites led The New York Times to exclaim “…every note he fashions is a pearl…the joy, brilliance and musicality of his performance could not be missed.” Thibaudet, who has performed around the world for more than 30 years and recorded more than 50 albums, has a depth and natural charisma that have made him one of today’s most sought-after soloists.
After a summer residency at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and appearances at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, and the Hollywood Bowl, Jean-Yves Thibaudet tackles three artist-in-residencies in 2015-16, at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, and the Colburn School of Music. He enters the second of three years of his Colburn residency, the first of its kind, with passion for education and fostering the next generation of musicians, teaching master classes and performing with students. He plays with the Seattle Symphony throughout the season, including Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F; chairs the jury for the Seattle Symphony Piano Competition 2015; performs Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 with symphony musicians, and tours Asia with the orchestra. He opens his residency at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with James MacMillan’s Piano Concerto No. 3, which he commissioned and premiered in 2011, before touring Europe, playing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the RCO. The residency additionally involves chamber music, a performance at RCO Club Night, and a master class. He also takes Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor on tour in the spring with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.
This season Thibaudet also makes a recital tour across the United States, Europe, and Asia; collaborates with the Emerson and Alma quartets, and performs with Gautier Capuçon in a duo recital of music for piano and cello at Vienna’s Musikverein.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and won the Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Gramophone Award, two Echo awards, and the Edison Prize. In 2010 he released Gershwin, featuring big jazz band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, variations on “I Got Rhythm,” and Concerto in F live with the Baltimore Symphony and music director Marin Alsop. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5, released in 2007, Thibaudet is joined by long-standing collaborator Charles Dutoit and the 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 Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music and 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. His concert wardrobe is by celebrated London designer Vivienne Westwood. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious Hospices de Beaune, an annual charity auction in Burgundy, France. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford’s film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. Thibaudet was the soloist on Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement and Pride and Prejudice and recorded the soundtrack of the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, composed by Alexandre Desplat. He was also featured in the 2000 PBS/Smithsonian special Piano Grand!, a piano performance program hosted by Billy Joel to pay tribute to the 300th anniversary of the instrument.
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 honors are the Premio Pegasus from the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. The Hollywood Bowl inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2010. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was promoted to the title of Officier by the French Minister of Culture in 2012.