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Li Yundi (simplified Chinese: 李云迪; traditional Chinese: 李雲迪; pinyin: Lǐ Yúndí) (born October 7, 1982) is a Chinese classical pianist. He is also popularly known as Yundi and formerly Yundi Li. Born in Chongqing, Li is most well known for being the youngest pianist to win the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, in 2000, at the age of 18, and for judging it in 2015. He currently resides in Beijing.
Li in Shenzhen
|Born||October 7, 1982|
Chongqing, Sichuan, China
|Alma mater||Shenzhen Arts School |
Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover
|Parent(s)||Li Chuan, Zhang Xiaolu|
|Awards||International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition|
2000 1st place
2000 The Fryderyk Chopin Society and Warsaw City Council ex aequo prize for the best performance of a polonaise
His father, Li Chuan, and his mother, Zhang Xiaolu, were both workers for the Sichuan Chongqing Steel and Iron Company. Although coming from a family of non-musicians, Li took to music early. When he was three years old, his parents bought him an accordion after he became so entranced by an accordion player in a shopping mall that he refused to leave. He mastered the instrument by the age of four, studying with Tan Jianmin, a music professor in China. Only one year later, he won the top prize at the Chongqing Children's Accordion Competition. Li began studying piano at the age of seven. Two years later, his teacher introduced him to Dan Zhaoyi, one of China's most renowned piano teachers, with whom he would study for nine years. Li's ambition was to become a professional pianist. In 1994, he entered the Shenzhen Arts School, Shenzhen, China. He later studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover in Hanover, Germany.
Li has received top awards at various competitions. He won the Children's Piano Competition in Beijing in 1994. In 1995, he was awarded first place at the Stravinsky International Youth Competition. In 1996, he won the Third Class Award in the 10th Hong Kong - Asia Piano Open Competition, the most competitive competition in Asia for international pianists. In 1998, he won the 1998 Missouri Southern International Piano Competition (Junior Division). The next year, he took Third Prize at the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition of Utrecht, as well as being a major winner in the China International Piano Competition. He also won first place at the Gina Bachauer Young Artists International Piano Competition.
In October 2000, at the urging of the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, Li participated in the 14th International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. He was the first participant to be awarded First Prize in 15 years. At 18 years of age, he was the youngest winner—and the first Chinese—in the competition's history. Li was given the "Polonaise award" by the Chopin Society for his performance at the competition.
In May 2010, in recognition of his contribution to Polish culture, the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage presented Yundi with a silver medal of the ‘Gloria Artis’ order of merit.
Performing and recording careerEdit
Li's debut in the United States took place in June 2003 at Carnegie Hall, as part of Steinway and Sons' 150th Anniversary Gala. His United States concert debut took place the next month, when he performed Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1. He was also honoured at a special reception at the home of the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, where he performed for various officials of the US State Department.
Li's second recording of Liszt for Deutsche Grammophon, for whom he exclusively recorded until November 2008, was released in August 2003 and was named "Best CD of the Year" by The New York Times. His third recording, comprising Chopin's four Scherzi and three Impromptus, was released in late 2004. Deutsche Grammophon released his recording of Beethoven sonatas in late 2012. He has also given a recital in the renowned Musikverein in Vienna, performing works by Mozart, Scarlatti, Schumann, and Liszt.
Li is the subject of a 2008 feature-length documentary, The Young Romantic: Yundi Li, directed by Barbara Willis Sweete. This documentary captures Li as he works with the conductor Seiji Ozawa to prepare for his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. He appeared as a Pennington Great Performers series artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, also in 2008.
In May 2012, Li officially signed with Universal Music Group and cooperated with Deutsche Grammophon once again. He then released recordings of Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Beethoven Emperor Concerto and Schumann Fantasie, The Art of Yundi, Chopin Prelude, and Chopin Ballades, Berceuse and Mazurkas.
Returning to Carnegie Hall, Li toured in 2015 with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, as a featured soloist. After their first concert at Carnegie Hall, the group continued on a seven city tour of China, ending in Hong Kong.
In May 2017, Li attended the opening ceremony of the Yundi Art Museum, located in the Chongqing Huangjueping Piano Museum. It displays several pianos from different stages of Li's career, including his first piano, as well as a collection of his awards, albums and photographs, and a high-tech experience pavilion.
In November 2017, Li gave a tour and played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K 488 with Staatskapelle Dresden in Germany and China. The same month, Li performed at the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.
- Chan, Vivien Pik-Kwan. "Shenzhen pianist shows forte". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong =October 21, 2000. p. 1.
- Bargreen, Melinda (April 10, 2005). "Piano prodigy loves what he is doing, as his brilliance attests". Seattle Times. p. J1.
- Kishinami, Yukiko (May 3, 2001). "Piano prodigy restores luster to Chopin competition". Daily Yomiuri. p. 1.
- Eatock, Colin (February 13, 2008). "Pianist as pop star. Is Yundi Li better than Lang Lang? He says he doesn't care". Globe and Mail. Canada. p. R1. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- "Charity show for Shenzhen pianist". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. December 1, 2000. p. 5.
- "Yundi Li", Chopin International Piano Competition
- "Pianist Yundi is back with Deutsche Grammophon", Gramophone, May 4, 2012
- "Pianist Li Yundi becomes a Hong Kong resident". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong =January 16, 2007. p. 2.
- "The Young Romantic - A Portrait of Yundi", prestoclassical
- "EMI Classics Signs Chinese Pianist Yundi". LSM Newswire. March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- "Review: Piano Maestro Li Yundi, Royal Festival Hall". The London Insider. March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
- "Yundi Discography", Deutsche Grammophon
- "Li Yundi Art Museum opened"
- "Chinese Tour of Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Yundi"
- "Interview: Pianist Li Yundi"
- "DRESDEN/ Semperoper: ALAIN GILBERT UND YUNDI IM 3. SYMPHONIEKONZERT DER SÄCHSISCHEN STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN"
- "Listen to your favorite League songs at League of Legends Live in Beijing". The Rift Herald. Retrieved November 3, 2017.