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Jean-Yves Thibaudet Follows His Own Score

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Jean-Yves Thibaudet, left, and Claude Debussy. Thibaudet will perform all of Debussy's Préludes in an upcoming concert at the Soka Performing Art Center, presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Credit: Thibaudet: Photo courtesy of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County/e. Caren; Debussy: Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress/Jacques-Émile Blanche

French pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet has played Claude Debussy’s Préludes since he was a child. They’re a cornerstone of classical piano literature, after all, and in France they occupy a special place in every student’s repertoire. Ranging in difficulty from ostensibly simple to devilishly difficult, they’re worthwhile studies that push pianists’ technical and interpretive boundaries.

Still, it’s not often that you hear all 24 of these short masterpieces played in a single concert, as Thibaudet will present them on Sunday at Soka University in a recital presented by the Philharmonic Society. Each one creates its own special sonic universe and carries a richly evocative title, and for that reason they’re often programmed singly, as brief points of contrast in a recital of pianistic heavyweights.

But Thibaudet, 61, is far enough along in his career to try things that he didn’t make time for as a rising piano star. In the last few years, he has performed the complete Préludes in concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe.

This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.


Classical music coverage at Culture OC is supported in part by a grant from the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism. Culture OC makes all editorial decisions.


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