Composer, conductor, and pianist for the Cinémathèque québécoise, Gabriel Thibaudeau is ranked among the world’s great silent-film accompanists. Born in Quebec in 1959, he studied piano at the Vincent d’Indy school of music, and composition at the music faculty of the Université de Montréal. He also studied with Iannis Xenakis, Micheline Coulombe-Saint-Marcoux and Nil Parent.
Gabriel Thibaudeau composed his first silent-film score in 1990. Commissioned by the Cinémathèque québécoise for Julian Rupert’s: The Phantom of the Opera, it premiered in November of that year at Place des Arts in Montreal. This orchestral score, as well as a version for octet and piano, are frequently performed in Europe, the United States and Canada.
Since then, works have been commissioned by a variety of institutions and artists, including the Cineteca Bologna, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Octuor de France, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, the Musica Camerata Montréal chamber ensemble, and Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà. In 1998, the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Directors’ Fortnight commissioned an original score for Paul Leni’s The Man Who Laughs. After the gala event at Cannes, Thibaudeau embarked on a world tour with the Octuor de France, performing in such major centres as Tokyo, New York, Bologna, Athens, Paris, Boston, Barcelona, Rome, Minsk and Montreal. In September 2005, he premiered his score for the Canadian film Nanook of the North for the Toronto International Film Festival. Featuring Inuit throat singing, a flute quartet, singers and percussion, the screening/concert was termed “unforgettable” by the French daily l’Humanité.
Gabriel Thibaudeau is a regular guest composer or improvisational pianist for many film festivals among them Le giornate del cinema muto and Il cinema ritrovato in Italy and eminent institutions such as the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive in California, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and Harvard University in Boston.