Yikes! It's hard to believe that the bad boy of the ivories — who bears a definite resemblance to another former bad boy, Sean Penn — turned 50 this year. Jean-Yves Thibaudet may be eligible for AARP, but he's still got the style, personality and techno smarts that make him one hot dude. The French virtuoso combines boundless musical talent with an extrovert's ebullience “Technique is not enough,” he's noted. “Everyone has a wonderful technique — that's standard. You must have an identity.” And: “With the DVDs and Facebook, YouTube, things like that, people want to know all about you, your personal life, what you like and don't like — so you have to play that game.” There's also his famous designer's eye for fashion. Instead of the traditional tails — “I think tails are the most horrible things in the world. They are, like, 300 years old!” — he prefers Vivienne Westwood suits, sexy silk shirts and ties, and, ooh la la, those famous red socks. Externals aside, Thibaudet is one of the greatest and most honored pianists on the planet, and this week, in Thibaudet Plays Liszt, he'll apply his magic to Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2, a masterpiece of both virtuosity and thematic transformation that is, essentially, one long movement divided into sections, and is so rich in tone and color that the composer called the work “Concerto Symphonique.” Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the program also includes Dvorak's Hussite Overture and Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3, “Organ.” At Walt Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs., Jan. 5, 8pm.; other perfs: Fri., Jan.. 6, 11 a.m.; Sat., Jan. 7, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 8, 2 p.m.; Upbeat Live pre-concert lectures with Dr. Alan Chapman, Thurs. & Sat., 7 p.m.; Fri., 9:45 a.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.; $24-$175. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com.
Thu., Jan. 5, 8 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 6, 11 a.m.; Sat., Jan. 7, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 8, 8 p.m., 2012
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