The orchestra ended its California tour in early March with performances at the California Center for the Arts (Escondido) and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts following performances in San Francisco and Palm Springs. Departing from the repertory usually associated with him, Jean-Yves once again proved the virtuoso, delighting the audience at the California Center of the Arts with his lyric and confident interpretation of BEETHOVEN’s Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat major Op.19 (in San Francisco and Cerritos, he performed RAVEL’s Piano Concerto in G for Piano and Orchestra). The BBC Symphony Orchestra under the masterly baton of Chief Conductor ANDREW DAVIS primed the audience for the evening with CARL MARIA VON WEBER’s melodic Overture to Oberon. The orchestral highlight was the dazzling and impeccable performance of ELGAR’s Symphony No. 2 in E-flat major, Op.63. With this work and the ensuing encore, the evocative “Four Sea Interludes” from BENJAMIN BRITTEN’s opera Peter Grimes DAVIS and the orchestra proved themselves to be true champions of English music.
JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET’s California appearances also included a recital at the Laguna Beach Artists’ Theater on March 5 where he delivered a well-rounded and beautifully crafted program, seamlessly blending BILL EVANS‘ jazz into some of RAVEL’s most lyric pieces. His wonderfully nuanced playing of nocturnes and etudes by CHOPIN and LISZT’s Ballade and piano transcription of Rigoletto was pure pleasure… and pure Thibaudet. This recital marked his third appearance in Southern California under the sponsorship of the Orange County Philharmonic Society. In early 1997 he performed RACHMANINOFF’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Minnesota Orchestra and the following September provided the piano accompaniment to Austrian mezzo-soprano ANGELIKA KIRCHSCHLAGER in a memorable program of lieder by GUSTAV MAHLER and RICHARD STRAUSS
On March 13, Jean-Yves performed RACHMANINOFF’s Concerto No.4 in g for Piano and Orchestra, Op.40 with the San Francisco Symphony, MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS conducting.