Jean-Yves Thibaudet (born 7 September 1961) is a French pianist.
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 Lyons Conservatory at the age of five, and began seriously studying the piano with several prominent teachers. He made his first public appearance at the age of seven. He won a Lyons Conservatory gold medal in 1974, 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.
He has performed with most of the world's leading symphonic orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France, among others. He also performs in the great concert halls of Europe and North America and is quite 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'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 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 has made more than 40 recordings for the British label Decca Records.
He is particularly well-known for his interpretations of French classical music but has made forays into the world of jazz as well, playing transcriptions of improvisations on the CDs Conversations with Bill Evans (1997) and Reflections on Duke (1999).
In the early months of 2007, Jean-Yves Thibaudet released a recording through Decca entitled Aria - Opera Without Words in which he has selected several of his favorite arias and overtures. It had been over 10 years since the pianist has returned to opera transcriptions; his last was a recording of Franz Liszt transcriptions made in 1993. 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).
Jean-Yves Thibaudet has also recorded compositions by composers including Addinsell, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, d'Indy, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Messiaen, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Satie, Schumann, and Richard Strauss, among others.
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, and Atonement, the latter 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.
Thibaudet's concert attire is designed by Vivienne Westwood; he first asked her to design an outfit for his appearance at the London Proms in 2002.
In 2001, the French Republic made Thibaudet a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2012 he was elevated to the grade of Officier.
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