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.
Thibaudet begins the Seattle Symphony's season with Khachaturian's Piano Concerto. In the summer of 2018, he toured Taiwan, China, and South Korea with Michael Tilson Thomas and Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra. He also expresses his passion for education and fostering young musical talent as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. The school has extended the residency for 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.
As one of the premiere interpreters of the solo part in Bernstein's Age of Anxiety, Thibaudet continues to perform the piece around the world as the composer's centennial year comes to a close. In addition to playing it with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the orchestra's first-ever appearance at the BBC Proms, he plays it with the Los Angeles and Brussels philharmonics and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
In 2018-19 he renews many longstanding musical partnerships, including touring a program of Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, and Enescu with Midori, touring the great concert halls of Europe with Lisa Batiashvili and Gautier Capuçon, and performing chamber music with brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon. With Gautier he also premieres Richard Dubugnon's Eros Athanatos, a fantaisie concertante for cello and piano, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. They go on to perform it with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra across Belgium, at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. With the Cleveland Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Thibaudet plays another piece that he introduced to the world: James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3.
Other highlights include beginning 2019 with Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, then with Susanna Mälkki and the LA Phil. With Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, he takes Saint-Saëns' fifth piano concerto on tour to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Philharmonie Essen, and the Berliner Philharmonie.
Thibaudet’s recording 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. In 2017 he released to great acclaim Bernstein's Age of Anxiety with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring 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 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 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 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.