An international artist renowned for his versatility, depth and sophisticated musicality, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is acknowledged worldwide as a master of the piano. His poetically strong interpretations, along with his extensive vocabulary of luminous colours and passionate sound, referred to as the 'Thibaudet style', have helped him to forge a career in both the performance and recording arenas. He has performed with many of the world's foremost conductors and orchestras, collaborated with many of the pre-eminent singers of today and is a popular figure at the international music festivals.
Mr. Thibaudet's 2002 summer season was rich in festival appearances: in Europe, they include Austria's Salzburg Festival in recital with Renée Fleming, opening night at Spain's Granada, German's Klavier Festival Ruhr and Kissinger Sommers Festival, Italy's Spoleto (in recital and with Cecilia Bartoli), Switzerland's Verbier, a televised performance at England's BBC Promenade Concerts (his eleventh consecutive appearance); and in the US, the festivals at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony, and at Saratoga with the Philadelphia Orchestra and with Kathleen Battle. Other performance highlights included a tour of England with the Philharmonia Orchestra; recitals at two of Europe's well-known Chopin Festivals (Valldemosa in Majorca, Spain and Les Fêtes Romantiques in Nohant, France) and a concert with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in Baden-Baden, Germany.
Mr. Thibaudet's 2002-2003 season has him traversing the globe. Of special note are two New York City events: a reprisal of his role as Boleslao Lazinski in Act II of Giordano's Fedora with James Levine conducting, for the Metropolitan Opera's Opening Night Gala on September 23rd, followed a few days later by performances with the New York Philharmonic of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G, Andre Previn conducting. Additional noteworthy engagements include his subscription series debut performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in late October/early November 2002; a tour of Florida with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer conducting, in January 2003 with stops in Naples, Sarasota, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, culminating in a performance at New York's Carnegie Hall; and a tour of Japan with the Orchestre National de Belgique, Mikko Frank conducting, in February 2003. International appearances in autumn 2002 include orchestral engagements with the BBC Philharmonic in a tour of Germany, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de Lille, as well as solo recitals in Germany and France. In addition to the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony, North American engagements for autumn 2002 include performances with the symphony orchestras of Colorado and Minnesota, and solo recitals at Montreal's Pollack Hall and Birmingham's Alys R. Stephen's Centre. International orchestral performances in winter/spring 2003 include the Orchestre National de Belgique, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra Regionale della Toscana, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Verona's Orchestra dell'Arena and the City of London Sinfonia. Mr. Thibaudet can be heard in spring recitals in Spain and the Netherlands. In addition to the tour of Florida and New York with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, US spring orchestral engagements include the National Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony, recitals at Baltimore's Shriver Hall and Saratoga's Montalvo Center and a chamber music performance with the Rossetti String Quartet at Philadelphia's Seaport Museum. Mr. Thibaudet continues his support for Classical Action with a benefit recital in New York City in the spring.
As accomplished performer who is equally at home with chamber music and recitals as he is with orchestral repertoire, Mr. Thibaudet is in great demand as a collaborator. He currently performs and records with such talents as Cecilia Bartoli, Renée Fleming, Angelika Kirchschlager, Yuri Bashmet and the Rossetti String Quartet.
An exclusive recording artist for Decca with over 30 recordings, Mr. Thibaudet's autumn 2002 release was entitled The Magic of Satie, a collection of both well-known and rare Satie works, including several pieces that have never been recorded and are considered to be new discoveries. Recent recordings include a CD of the Mendelssohn Piano Concerti with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conducting, and a collection of arias entitled Night Songs, his first collaborative recording with soprano Renée Fleming featuring works by Fauré, Debussy, Marx, Strauss and Rachmaninoff. Additional recordings include a Chopin/Grieg disc with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, and a two-CD set of Debussy works entitled Debussy images, etudes: complete works for solo piano, Vol. 2. Mr. Thibaudet's diverse repertoire includes works by Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Liszt, Messiaen, Chopin, Shostakovich, Gershwin, Brahms, Schumann, D'Indy, Wolf and Ravel, for which his recording of the complete piano works received a Grammy nomination. He has made successful forays into the world of jazz as well, including Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the music of Duke Ellington and Conversations with Bill Evans. Selections from the two jazz recordings were recently merged into one CD, DAYDREAMS Reflections on Bill Evans and Duke Ellington (2002), and released in Australia, where the recording has met with great acclaim.
Outside of the traditional concert stage, Mr. Thibaudet's talent has also been recognized. He had an onscreen cameo in the Bruce Beresford feature film on Alma Mahler entitled Bride of the Wind, (released June 2001), and his playing is showcased throughout the movie soundtrack. His playing can also be heard in the movie soundtrack of the feature film Portrait of a Lady, for which he played two Schubert Impromptus (1997). He was featured in the 2000 PBS/Smithsonian special, Piano Grand!, a piano performance television special hosted by Billy Joel to give tribute to the 300th anniversary of the piano. The celebrated London fashion designer Vivienne Westwood began to design his concert attire as of summer of 2002.
Of French and German heritage, 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 age 12, Thibaudet entered the Paris Conservatory where he studied 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 won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. In 2001, the Republic of France awarded Mr. Thibaudet the 'Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres'.