he was first attracted to the piano at age 3, learned to play it at age 5 (later learned the violin and even dreamed of conducting);
he made his first public appearance at age 7; first performed with an orchestra at age 11, playing Ravel’s Concerto in G – his prize for winning a competition called the Kingdom of Music;
at age 12, he graduated with the gold medal from the conservatory in Lyons;
then he continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire, with Lucille Descaves – a student of Fauré and Ravel; he later studied with Reine Gianoli, a student of Artur Schnabel; and lastly with Aldo Ciccolini, perhaps the one who influenced him most;
at age 15, he won the premier Prix du Conservatoire, soon followed by top prizes at the Viotti International Competition (Italy), the Robert Casadesus International Competition (Cleveland, Ohio) and the Busoni International Competition (Italy);
JEAN-YVES: ON HIS CHILDHOOD YEARS
in 1980, he won the highest prize at the International Piano Competition in Japan;
in 1981, he won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York and soonafter began a series of sensational debuts in the US, Europe, and the Far East.
Today this former child prodigy is in the prime of his career, with more than 50 recordings to his name (and more in the works) and hundreds of highly acclaimed concert appearances. His CDs are always sure hits. Recent examples are his first Gershwin recording (with American conductor Marin Alsop), his Grammy-nominated recording of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerti Nos. 2&5 (with frequent collaborator Charles Dutoit), and his “ARIA: Opera without Words” of solo piano pieces that include some of his own arrangements. In 2003, his 5-CD box set entitled “Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music” was awarded the Choc du Monde de la Musique; and his first collaborative recording with soprano Renée Fleming won the best Lieder Recital Award at Germany’s 2002 Echo Classical Music Awards.
A Grammy-nominated recording artist for Decca, his other awards include: the Schallplatten Preis, the Diapason d’Or, the Gramophone Award, two Echo awards, and the Edison Prize.
His playing can also be heard on the soundtracks of several films, foremost among them being “Atonement“, the 2008 Oscar- and Golden Globe Award-winner for Best Original Score (by composer Dario Marinelli). In 2006 the film “Pride and Prejudice” in which he played the piano solo from beginning to end received an Oscar nomination also for Best Original Score, likewise by Marinelli. He made his first movie cameo appearance in the feature film on Alma Mahler, “Bride of the Wind,” in which he also played the piano solo for the soundtrack. His first foray into film soundtracks was in “Portrait of a Lady” for which he played two Schubert Impromptus. Most recently, Jean-Yves recorded the soundtrack of the 2012 film “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, composed by Alexandre Desplat.
For his artistic achievements, the Republic of France awarded Mr. Thibaudet the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2001; and in 2003 he received the Premio Pegasus from the Spoleto Festival with which he has had a longstanding involvement. Most recently in February 2007, “Les Victoires de la Musique,” which is the equivalent of the Grammy, awarded him the prestigious “Victoire d’Honneur” – a lifetime career achievement award, usually given to artists approaching the end of long, distinguished careers. He received the honor at a ceremony nationally broadcast live on prime time French TV where he played the last movement of Gershwin’s Concerto in F with the Orchestre National de France and delivered a speech. Jean-Yves received his most recent honor on June 18, 2010 when was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2012, his Chevalier rank was elevated to Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
He is now hailed as one of the world’s great pianists, certainly the most celebrated of his generation. And as you can see, with very good reason….