Born in Lyon, France. Began studying classical piano at age five; studied with Lucette Descaves; studied at the Paris Conservatory under tutelage of Aldo Ciccolini. Education: Began studying classical piano at age five; studied with Lucette Descaves; studied at the Paris Conservatory under tutelage of Aldo Ciccolini. Addresses: Record company--Dorian Music, P.O. Box 285, Ayelsbury, HP22, 4SX, UK.

Classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has become a command performer much in demand on the world concert scene. He is known for his beautiful poetic musical interpretations, and his skill at evoking the atmospheric textures, colors, and moods of the music he plays.

Born in Lyon, France to a family that heartily encouraged their children's participation in the fine arts, he began piano lessons at age five and worked hard to develop his skills. Talent showed in his seemingly effortless ability to play with an extraordinary gracefullness. At age seven, he gave his first public performance. While still a child, he apprenticed with Lucette Descaves, the great friend and collaborator of the composer Ravel. Thibaudet entered the Paris Conservatory as a twelve year old boy. Here, he studied music under the tutelage of Aldo Ciccolini. As he entered his teenage years, he won prizes for his piano playing and, at age 15, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire. At age 18 he won the 1981 Young Concert Artists Auditions.

Upon graduation, Thibaudet landed a contract with London/Decca Records and has remained with them ever since. He has performed in and released over 20 classical CDs throughout his career. In 1992, he released a watershed two-CD set of Ravel's complete piano works. It went over to great success. This work won Thibaudet Germany's illustrious Schall-plattenpreis award and also garnered him a Grammy nomination. In addition to the Ravel works, he also released a rendering of Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony masterwork that same year. He was backed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly. The CD won the Edison Prize as well as the French Diapason D'Or award.

In 1993,Thibaudet released a CD with Miss Fassbaender of Wolf's Morike Lieder and he received many public accolades. He won the Grammaphone Award for Morike Lieder as well as another Edison Prize. In 1994, he released a command performance CD of Liszt's Opera Transcription, also to great critical success.

The year 1996 marked one of many future crowning achievments for Thibaudet. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Giordano's Fedora . A live April 1997 radio broadcast tape still exists of this great moment in classical piano playing. In a telecast shortly after, Thibaudet shows up in a the cameo role as the concert pianist/spy playing opposite Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni. Other U.S. season highlights were a debut recital on the Great Performers series at Avery Fisher Hall in 1997, with a number of dual recitals with Joshua Bell nationwide. The highest point during the tour was the performance at Carnegie Hall.

During 1997, Thibaudet played in a season of performances at the London Proms accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic. He returned to London in April of that year to preside over a mini "Thibaudet Festival" at Wigmore Hall. He also played and currently plays with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Prague Radio Symphony, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The next round of solo recitals took him to Paris, Bergamo, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Glasgow and as far in the orient as Seoul, Korea. He also held a series of solo recitals throughout South America. Afterward, Thibaudet put in pleasing performances at the Pacific Music Festival in Japan accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted this performance.

For the last fifteen years, Thibaudet has played piano with every major orchestra in the United States and overseas. He has had the privilege of working with the greatest conductors of our time including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Riccardo Chailly, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Raymond Leppard, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas and Edo de Waart. All attest to his stellar artistry and knack at bringing a fresh interpretation to the work he plays. Without exception, his interpretations are always inspiringly original yet remain in keeping with the composer's intended spirit; not an easy feat to pull off considering the complexities of some of the composers Thibaudet has chosen to work with and include in his recorded repertoire.

Along with performing with various world orchestras, Thibaudet also gives regular solo recitals. He has entertained the discriminating ear from London Wigmore Hall to Avery Fisher Hall in New York. He is also one of the most asked for performers and many other classical artists want to do duets with him. In response to this demand, as well as having a desire to expand his musical horizons, this multifaceted talent recently sought to expand his solo recitals by including duo recitals with violinist Joshua Bell, Olga Borodina, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

A regular performer at various summer festivals, Thibaudet has performed for the last 15 seasons at Italy's Spoleto Festival, and for the last six seasons at the London Proms. Additional festival concerts have included Adelaide, Blossom, Caramoor, Casals, Hollywood Bowl, Istanbul, Mann Music Center, Prades, Prague, Ravinia, Saratoga, Schleswig-Holstein, Stavanger, and Tanglewood. Recent award winning releases are Debussy Preludes Book I and II, which won the Diapason d'Or award, recordings of Rachmaninoff's complete piano concertos [Concerto No. 4], and a Brahms/Schumann recording with the Cleveland Orchestra. Appearances with Vladimar Ashenazy in several Ravel concertos with the Montreal Symphony under Charles Dutoit followed. Later in 1997, Thibaudet began work on the next two installments of his survey of the complete works of Debussy for solo piano. He also started work on Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals with conductor Sir George Solti. In addition, he worked with Herbert Blomstedt and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as they undertook the Mendelssohn concertos.

In an effort to further expand his musical horizons, Thibaudet decided to try his hand at recording jazz. Over the years he had enjoyed listening to the best of the classical jazz greats. One artist he especially admired was the experimental pianist Bill Evans. Long known for a distinct quirky style of jazz piano playing, Evans was a musical subject Thibaduet wanted to explore in his recordings and, in March of 1997, he released a CD paying homage to this late jazz great. Later in the year, Thibaudet wanted to explore another musical avenue by recording movie soundtracks. He was featured in the Nicole Kidman movie, Portrait of a Lady, where he played two Schubert impromptus.

by Timothy Kevin Perry

Jean-Yves Thibaudet's Career

Released a two-set cd of Ravel's complete piano works in 1992; released Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, 1992; released a cd of Wolf's Morike Lidre with Miss Fassbaender, 1993; released a cd of Liszt's Opera Transcriptions in 1994; debuted with the Metropolitan Opera performing Giordano's Fedora, 1996; released Conversations with Bill Evans, 1997; performed debut recital on Great Performers series at Avery Fisher Hall, 1997; performed at Carnegie Hall, 1997; contributor to soundtrack Portrait of a Lady.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet's Awards

Premier Prix du Conservatoire Award; Young Concert Artists Auditions Award,1981; Germany's Schall-plattenpreis Award, 1992; The Edison Prize, 1992, 1993; the French Diapason D'Or Award, 1992; Grammaphone Award, 1993; French Diapason D'Or Award, 1993.

Famous Works

Further Reading


Visitor Comments Add a comment…

almost 15 years ago

Thank You very much, anyhow, for showing interest in me and my Music. Grazie, per avermi accostato al grande talento di Jean-Yves. Andrea P.

almost 15 years ago

For any informations about Andrea Poggiali and his music; please contact: or: Tel/fax: (39) 0 55 844514 Cell. +39 3383396573

almost 15 years ago

Yes is true, Mr. Andrea Poggiali did contact You, and it would Be quite nice if, while all this time You would have that polite sense of re-contacting Him, instead of just... posting on Google. Don't You think ?

almost 15 years ago

Hello; I am Andrea Poggiali, an Italian Composer (b.1966). I really would like (and I did try) to send some of my original Piano-Music to Jean-Yves. Please be free to contact me or give me a proper eMail so I can deliver my Music to Him. Thank You: Andrea Poggiali Vespignano 91, 50039 Florence - Italy. Tel/Fax: (39) 0 55 844514 Cell. (+39) 338 339 6573

over 15 years ago

I have one record of this extraordinaire artist "Aria: Opera Without Words" and i like it so much that I bought one more for a dear friend. I'm planning to buy some others of his repertoire because I like his style, finesse and elegant technique.