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Jean-Yves Thibaudet

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Through elegant musicality and an insightful approach to both contemporary and established repertoire, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has earned a reputation as one of the world’s finest pianists. He is especially known for his diverse interests beyond the classical world; in addition to his many forays into jazz and opera—including works which he transcribed himself for the piano—Thibaudet has forged profound friendships around the globe, leading to fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art. A recording powerhouse, Thibaudet appears on more than 70 albums and six film scores. He is a devoted educator and is the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School, which awards several scholarships in his name.

Thibaudet begins the season with a tour of Europe with Boston Symphony Orchestra, performing two of his signature works: Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No.5. He goes on to play the Gershwin concerto in season-opening engagements with Toronto and Baltimore symphony orchestras, as well as concerts with Nashville and Indianapolis symphony orchestras; further performances of the Saint-Saëns concerto include dates with North Carolina Symphony, and Pittsburgh and Chicago symphony orchestras.

Thibaudet joins Gustavo Dudamel and Los Angeles Philharmonic for Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto in November, which will be recorded for future release on Decca. He then performs Ravel’s Concerto in G with Houston Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bern Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. A renowned interpreter of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, Thibaudet performs the piece with Montreal Symphony Orchestra in December. Thibaudet joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestre de Paris in Debussy’s Fantaisie; he and Salonen reunite in San Francisco for a synesthetic performance of Scriabin’s Prometheus: The Poem of Fire—a piece he also performs with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to his orchestral dates, Thibaudet embarks on a trio tour of the United States with longtime collaborators Gautier Capuçon and Lisa Batiashvili, featuring works by Haydn, Ravel, and Mendelssohn. He also continues his multi-season focus on Debussy’s Préludes, performing both books in their entirety at recitals in Europe; these performances will be accompanied by a reissue of his seminal 1996 recording of the Préludes on limited-edition vinyl. Thibaudet and Michael Feinstein will also continue their acclaimed program Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?, presenting works by Gershwin, Rodgers, and others in new arrangements for piano, voice, and orchestra.

Thibaudet records exclusively for Decca; his extensive catalogue has received two Grammy nominations, two ECHO Awards, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Edison Prize, and Gramophone awards. His most recent solo 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 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop; recordings of the complete solo piano music of Debussy and Satie; Grammy-nominated recordings of Ravel’s complete solo piano works and Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5; the jazz albums Reflections on Duke and Conversations With Bill Evans; and Aria–Opera Without Words, which features arias transcribed for solo piano by Thibaudet himself.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the worlds of fashion, film, and philanthropy. He was soloist on Aaron Zigman’s score for 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 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 advisor, with Gautier Capuçon, of the Festival Musique & Vin au Clos Vougeot.

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