Support Saint Paul Sunday with your purchases
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Saint Paul Sunday home page


Jean Yves Thibaudet



A master of color, nuance and interpretation, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is renowned worldwide for his sophisticated performances and poetic soul. A respected and versatile artist, he is sought after by today's foremost orchestras, conductors and music festivals, as well as for collaborations with pre-eminent musicians. Considered one of the great pianists of our time, with an international career in both the performance and recording arenas, he has been praised by the press as "a musical treasure of this age."

Mr. Thibaudet's 2004-2005 season underscores his worldwide appeal. Following highlights of summer 2004, which included his 15th performance at the BBC Proms, his 23rd appearance at Spoleto, a recital at Tanglewood, and orchestral and chamber music appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga, Jean-Yves Thibaudet continues to traverse the globe this season in orchestral, recital and chamber music performances. Engagements of note include an international tour with the Orchestre National de France featuring a performance at Carnegie Hall, a solo recital at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, and a duo-recital with mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager at Warsaw, Poland's National Philharmonic Hall. US orchestral engagements include subscription series concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Houston, North Carolina, Nashville, Charlotte and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Mr. Thibaudet performs chamber music with the Rossetti String Quartet at Tacoma, Washington's Pantages Theater, and with members of the New York Philharmonic at New York City's 92nd St. Y/Tisch Center for the Arts. International orchestral engagements include performances with the Gewandhaus Leipzig Orchestra, the WDR Cologne Radio Orchestra, National Symphony of Taiwan, Bilbao Symphony, BBC Symphony, Orchestre de Cannes-Provence, the Galicia Symphony and the Orchestre de Lyon. International solo recitals include China's Beijing Music Festival, the Macau International Festival, Spain's Sala Baluarte in Pamplona and Teatro Fraga in Vigo, and Germany's Liederhalle Stuttgart Beethovensaal.

An 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 artists as Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Angelika Kirchschlager, Yuri Bashmet and the Rossetti String Quartet. He has also been a catalyst in championing young up-and-coming artists such as Julia Fischer, Daniel Müller-Schott and John Matz.

An award winning, Grammy nominated exclusive recording artist for Decca with over 30 recordings, Mr. Thibaudet's most recent release is a 5-CD box-set entitled "Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music" (awarded the 2003 Choc de la Musique). Additional recordings include "The Magic of Satie" (released in fall 2002, awarded with a 2003 Echo award for Best Solo Repertoire of the 20th Century); a CD of the Mendelssohn Piano Concerti with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conducting; a collection of arias entitled "Night Songs" with soprano Renée Fleming featuring works by Fauré, Debussy, Marx, Strauss and Rachmaninoff (awarded Best Lieder Recital award at Germany's 2002 Echo Classical Music Awards); and a Chopin/Grieg disc with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev. 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 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. Among his numerous recording awards, Mr. Thibaudet counts the Echo and Schallplatten Preis Awards, the Diapason d'Or, Gramophone Award, and Edison Prize. Scheduled for release during 2004-05 is a recording of Strauss' Burleske with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conducting.

Outside of the traditional concert stage, Mr. Thibaudet's talent has also been recognized. This November 2004, Mr. Thibaudet will serve as President (an honor extended to luminaries) of the prestigious Hospices des Baune, an annual charity auction in Burgundy, France. 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 fashion world has taken notice of Mr. Thibaudet as well. His concert attire is designed by the celebrated London fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

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. In 2002, Jean-Yves was awarded the Premio Pegasus from the Spoleto Festival for his artistic achievements and his longstanding involvement with the festival.