YUNDI LI was propelled into the international musical scene by winning first prize at the 2000 Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. At 18 years of age, he was one of the youngest winners of this prestigious competition. Yundi Li was the first person in 15 years to be awarded a first prize; notable past winners include Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, and Maurizio Pollini. At the request of the government of China, this was Yundi Li's first ever trip to Europe. Born in Chongqing, China, he was raised and educated there until 1995, when his whole family moved to Shenzhen, where he continued his studies with Zhaoyi Dan at the Shenzhen Arts School.
Known for his remarkable depth and technique, Yundi Li signed an exclusive recording with Deutsche Grammophon in 2001. The New York Times named Yundi Li's second recording - featuring Liszt - as "Best of the Year" for 2003 and praised his recording of Chopin: Scherzos and Impromptus for his "white-hot virtuosity" and "uncanny clarity." DG has also released the Vienna Recital CD and plans to release a new recording featuring Yundi Li each year through 2008. His newest CD includes piano concertos by Chopin and Liszt.
In July 2003, Yundi Li made his American concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1. In April 2004 he completed his North American debut recital tour, which included sold-out performances in Boston, Vancouver, San Francisco, and New York. In August 2004, Yundi Li was the only piano soloist to be invited to perform in the gala concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood.
His American subscription debut took place in February 2005 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch. In Spring 2005 he performed in Los Angeles and New York (Carnegie Hall) with the American Youth Symphony celebrating its 50th anniversary. His second major U.S. recital tour in April 2005 included performances in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Cincinnati, Columbus, Kansas City, and Baltimore, and in New York at Alice Tully Hall.
Highlights of recent seasons include concerts at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), concerts with the Cincinnati Symphony and Paavo Järvi, return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch, concerts with the Orchestre National de France under Kurt Masur, a tour of Japan with the Cincinnati Symphony and Mr. Järvi, concerts with the Israel Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa, as well as recitals in Salzburg, Berlin (Philharmonie), Verbier, Prague, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, London, Munich, Hamburg, Amersterdam (Concertgebouw), Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC. In addition, he undertook a 13-city recital tour of Japan, which included performances at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In Fall 2005 he toured with the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Verbier Festival Orchestra and James Levine, and also appeared in recital in Vienna. Yundi Li recently appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Myung Whun Chung where he performed in London and then on tour to Korea.
Future engagements include recitals in London, Hamburg, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Paris, to name a few. Yundi Li has toured with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in the USA, including a return to Carnegie Hall. He also toured with Fabio Luisi and the Vienna Symphony in Vienna and Japan in the Fall of 2006, and he appears with the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony, and the National Symphony in Spring 2007.