Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (born 7 September 1961)[1][2] is a French pianist.[3]

Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Born (1961-09-07) 7 September 1961 (age 61)
Lyon, France
  • Musician

Early life and studiesEdit

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 him.

Thibaudet entered the Conservatoire de Lyon at the age of five[1] and began studying the piano. He made his first public appearance at the age of seven. He won a gold medal[1] at the Conservatoire when he was twelve and subsequently entered the Conservatoire de Paris, where he studied with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves. Three years later, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and at the age of eighteen, won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York.


Thibaudet has performed with most of the world's leading orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the London Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared in the major concert halls of Europe, North America and Asia. In 2010, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.[4]

Thibaudet also holds the honor of being the first ever Artist-in-Residence at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Colburn School in Los Angeles.[5][6][7]

Among Thibaudet’s 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.[8]

Notably, Thibaudet's recording of Liszt drew rare praise from the great Vladimir Horowitz, who remarked, “It was amazing, such dexterity, such technique, such articulation, such command.”[9]


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.

Thibaudet 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).[10]

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.[11]

Thibaudet’s playing can be heard on the movie soundtracks of The Portrait of a Lady, Pride & Prejudice, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,[12] Wakefield, and Atonement, the last of which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Personal lifeEdit

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.[13]

Thibaudet's concert attire was designed by Vivienne Westwood (prior to her death in December 2022); he first asked her to design an outfit for his appearance at the London Proms in 2002.[10]

In 2001, Thibaudet was appointed a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2012 he was promoted to the grade of Officier.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Michael & Joyce Kennedy, 2007.
  2. ^ "Interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet". Northworks. 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2009-12-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Hall of Fame". Hollywood Bowl. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  5. ^ "For its new artist-in-residence post, BSO should think big". Boston Globe. 2018.
  6. ^ "Jean-Yves Thibaudet Kicks Off Year-Long Residency". Seattle Symphony. 2015.
  7. ^ "Jean-Yves Thibaudet - Piano". New York Philharmonic. 2022.
  8. ^ "James MacMillan: reviews of Piano Concerto No.3". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  9. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. Horowitz: His Life and Music, Simon & Schuster, 1992, p. 14.
  10. ^ a b Pound, BBC Music Magazine, March 2010.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Taylor, James C. (1 January 2012). "An 'Incredibly Close' call for Thibaudet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  13. ^ ""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.
  14. ^ "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

External linksEdit