Jean-Efflam Bavouzet was born in Lannion, France, in 1962. He studied music at the Paris Conservatory where his most important teacher was Pierre Sancan. In 1986 Bavouzet won the Beethoven International Competition in Cologne. Three years later he was given the Steven de Groote Memorial Award for best chamber music performance at the Van Cliburn Competition.
While Bavouzet enjoyed reasonable success in the wake of these triumphs, including his appearance on a 1993 Accord CD of works by Stockhausen, his major breakthrough came in 1995 when he debuted with the Orchestre de Paris at the invitation of Georg Solti. In a 1998 concert with the Orchestre de Paris, Bavouzet collaborated with Pierre Boulez, a conductor with whom he would make many subsequent appearances, both in France and abroad.
In the new century Bavouzet's career has continued on the ascent, not least because of his considerable activity in the recording studio. He recorded the complete piano works of Ravel to acclaim for MD&G in 2003. Bavouzet began recording for Chandos in 2006, and his initial project for the label, the complete piano works of Debussy, was issued on five discs from 2007-2009, the critics broadly approving each release. Bavouzet distinguished himself further when in March 2009 he played the challenging five Prokofiev concertos over two concerts with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Antoni Wit.
In September 2009 Bavouzet premiered a work dedicated to him, the Bruno Mantovani piano concerto, The Book of Jeb, at the Piano aux Jacobins International Festival in Toulouse. Bavouzet's 2011 schedule included a tour of the U.S. with the National Orchestra of France and Daniele Gatti. Vol. 2 of Bavouzet's acclaimed Haydn piano sonata cycle was issued by Chandos in 2011.