DOB: October 7, 1982
Birthplace: Chongqing, China
Residence: Hong Kong
With his romantic and passionate interpretations of classical music, world renowned pianist Yundi has long become the darling of Asia’s classical music aficionados. In his native China, Yundi has inspired countless children to pursue what would have been seen as lofty dreams of reaching a global stage. He has made the impossible seem achievable with the right commitment, extraordinary hard work and of course, natural talent. As the first Chinese and youngest ever winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition, he further proved that the classical music industry was no longer dominated by Europeans and Americans.
During my personal meeting with him post concert in Miami in 2008, he demonstrated endearing humility, kindness and a shy smile, all qualities his adoring fans sense in his profound playing. With an enormous level of success behind him, unlike many of his colleagues on the global music scene, Yundi has maintained a down to earth sensibility which no doubt contributes to his approach to classical piano.
Internationally acclaimed pianist YUNDI was propelled onto the international stage when he won first prize at the XIV Chopin International Piano Competition at the age of 18, becoming the youngest and first Chinese winner in the history of the prestigious competition. Since then, he has been regarded as a leading exponent of Chopin’s music. In recognition of his contribution to Polish culture, the Government of Poland presented a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture ‘Gloria Artis’ to YUNDI in 2010.
On his regular recital tours, YUNDI has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall (New York), Royal Festival Hall (London), Musikverein Vienna, Alte Opera Frankfurt, Herkulessaal (Munich), Konzerthaus Berlin, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Salle Pleyel (Paris), Mariinsky Concert Hall (St Petersburg), National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing), Seoul Arts Centre and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Orchestras and conductors with whom he has collaborated include the Berliner Philharmoniker and Seiji Ozawa, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and Riccardo Chailly, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Daniel Harding, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Philharmonia Orchestra and Andrew Davis, Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, and the Israel Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. He has also performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and NHK Symphony.
YUNDI’s 2012/13 season opens with Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Vassily Sinaisky, followed by a major month-long tour of Japan. He will also return to Taiwan and Korea before embarking on a recital tour in Europe which includes performances in London, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Prague and Moscow.
In addition to his activities on the concert platform, YUNDI is also passionate about humanitarian work, which includes acting as an ambassador of the Red Cross Society of China and for his hometown of Chongqing. Equally committed to promoting classical music in an educational context, YUNDI is one of the pioneers of musical education in China, where his success story has played a crucial role in millions of children learning the piano. He has also given master classes at the Royal College of Music, University of Cambridge and Qinghua University in Beijing.
YUNDI has released nine CDs worldwide on Deutsche Grammophon and EMI Classics. In 2007, he became the first Chinese pianist to record live with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Seiji Ozawa. This Deutsche Grammophon disc met with rave reviews and was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ by Gramophone magazine. On EMI Classics, he has released the complete Chopin Nocturnes, Live in Beijing (the first live recording to emerge from the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing since its inception in 2007) and Red Piano, an album celebrating piano music written by Chinese composers. YUNDI’s next CD, a recording of three of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, will be released on Deutsche Grammophon in the 2012/13 season.
Born in Chongqing, YUNDI began piano studies at age seven. He subsequently trained at the Shenzhen Arts School and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover.
Photos Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon