Early life and studies
Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, to non-professional musical parents. His father played the violin, and his mother, of German origin and a somewhat accomplished pianist herself, introduced the instrument to Jean-Yves.
Thibaudet entered the Conservatoire de Lyon at the age of five and began studying the piano. He made his first public appearance at the age of seven. He won a gold medal at the Conservatoire when he was twelve and subsequently entered the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves. Three years later, he won the premier Prix du Conservatoire and at the age of 18 he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City.
Thibaudet has performed with most of the world's leading symphonic orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France. He has also performed in the concert halls of Europe and North America and is fond of travelling to Australia where he has a strong fan base. He was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2010. Thibaudet was named Artist-in-Residence for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra during the 2019/20 season to coincide with Stéphane Denève's first season as Music Director. Thibaudet's virtuosity is such that he even impressed the great Vladimir Horowitz, who called a performance he heard on the radio of Thibaudet playing Liszt "amazing".
Among his collaborators in performances and recordings are soprano Renée Fleming; mezzo-sopranos Cecilia Bartoli and Angelika Kirchschlager; violist Yuri Bashmet; violinists Joshua Bell, Midori, and Julia Fischer; cellists Truls Mørk, Daniel Müller-Schott, and Gautier Capuçon; and the Rossetti String Quartet. He also commissioned a piano concerto from James MacMillan, which he premiered with the Minnesota Orchestra in 2011. Thibaudet performed Gershwin’s Concerto in F as the guest soloist of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA on its 2018 Asia tour.
Thibaudet has made more than 50 recordings, most for the British label Decca Records. He made a box set of all of Erik Satie's complete works for solo piano, released on the composer's 150th birthday.
He is well known for his interpretations of French classical music but has also made forays into the world of jazz, playing arrangements and transcriptions of improvisations on the CDs Conversations with Bill Evans (1997) and Reflections on Duke (1999).
Thibaudet is also known for his recordings of opera transcriptions. In 1993, he recorded arrangements of extracts from operas by Franz Liszt and Busoni. In 2007, Thibaudet released a CD entitled Aria: Opera Without Words, in which he selected several of his favorite arias and overtures, including some of his own transcriptions and those of Yvar Mikhashoff. He has since recorded a disc of Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 5 by Camille Saint-Saëns (with Dutoit and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, released in October 2007), and a disc of Gershwin works for piano and orchestra in Grofé's arrangements (released March 2010).
Thibaudet has also recorded compositions by composers including Addinsell, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, d'Indy, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, Claus Ogerman, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Satie, Schumann, and Richard Strauss.
His playing can be heard on the movie soundtracks of The Portrait of a Lady, Bride of the Wind, Pride & Prejudice, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Wakefield, and Atonement, the last of which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
He and his partner Paul have homes in Los Angeles and Paris and often travel together; Thibaudet will not accept invitations unless his partner is also invited.
- Michael & Joyce Kennedy, 2007.
- "Interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet". Northworks. 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
- Fanfaire biography
- "Hall of Fame". Hollywood Bowl. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Jean-Paul and Isabelle Montupet Artist-in-Residence". SLSO.org. 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Schonberg, Harold C. Horowitz: His Life and Music, Simon & Schuster, 1992, p. 14.
- "James MacMillan: reviews of Piano Concerto No.3". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Pound, BBC Music Magazine, March 2010.
- Joseph Dalton, "Dressed to trill: superstar pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet talks about rescuing the piano solos of Erik Satie—and wearing Vivienne Westwood originals - music" Archived 2006-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, The Advocate, 24 June 2003.
- Taylor, James C. (1 January 2012). "An 'Incredibly Close' call for Thibaudet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- ""Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Style at the keyboard", My Big Gay Ears, 9 May 2003". Archived from the original on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Jean-Yves Thibaudet biography". Archived from the original on 2016-04-23. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
- Kennedy, Michael and Joyce. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music (5th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-19-920383-3.
- Pound, Jeremy. "Le Grand Bleu", BBC Music Magazine, March 2010