Internationally renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet prides himself on his ability to get lost in a particular composer's oeuvre, mining even obscure works for poetic insights into the writer's intentions. Thibaudet builds seasons around composers; he makes falling in love with their music the centerpiece of his artistic life. In the past decade, Thibaudet has planned programs and albums around composers such as Frédéric François Chopin, Eric Satie, Franz Liszt, Bill Evans, and George Gershwin. This July, Thibaudet will perform the complete piano works of Maurice Ravel over three days of concerts at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Emmanuel Krivine, will join Thibaudet on the final day. During the three days, Thibaudet will play the first and last compositions of Ravel's lifetime.
Ravel holds special significance for Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Thibaudet's first public orchestral concert at the age of 11 was Ravel's Concerto in G. By age of 15, he had learned the composer's complete piano works. When Thibaudet entered the Paris Conservatory, where Ravel also studied, one of his teachers was Lucette Descaves, a close friend and collaborator of Ravel. Thibaudet writes, "I grew up with her [Descaves] telling us precise things about him [Ravel], that he liked this, he didn't like that, etc.. I felt I knew him. There was a special link. There is still something magical for me when I hear an orchestra bring out the colors in his music. When I play him, I never get tired of it. It's always fresh."
This summer, Thibaudet will also continue performing Liszt, playing the Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. The Liszt celebration, which takes place over the 2011 calendar year, covers a program carefully chosen by Thibaudet over years of experience. His successful solo recital tour included engagements at Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, and the Berlin Philharmonie, among others. Thibaudet will finish the year this fall aided by mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager with a program of Liszt lieder.