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EMI Classics has signed the “superlative young Chinese pianist” Yundi, formerly known as Yundi Li, winner of the 14th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Appropriately, Yundi’s first EMI release will be the complete Chopin Nocturnes, released to commemorate the composer’s 200th birthday in 2010. Yundi and EMI Classics together plan to record the complete works for solo piano by Chopin.
Stephen Johns, Vice President, A&R, EMI Classics, said, "We are extremely pleased to be welcoming Yundi to the EMI Classics label. Yundi's musicianship and artistry has already captivated audiences around the world, and his desire continually to seek new challenges mirrors our own ambitions to bring great music in new and innovative ways to a wide public. We are particularly excited by Yundi's championing of the music of Chopin and in this, his anniversary year."
Since the competition that catapulted Yundi onto the international stage, his recitals and appearances with orchestras in Europe, Asia and the United States have been hailed by critics extolling his precise, crystalline technique, keyboard fluidity and boundless enthusiasm. His personality and artistry appeal to audiences of all ages and he is an icon in his native China, where he has inspired millions of young people, who refer to him as the “Prince of the Piano.” He is equally the toast of national leaders and has been invited to perform for the Chinese Ambassador in Washington, D.C. and for the President of China, Hu Jin Tao at Government House in a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China.
Following a recital at the Salle Pleyel in 2009, the critic Gérard Mannoni said, “With Yundi Li, the sound is … deep, radiant, warm, spacious, highlighted by a perfect use of silence, the element of language so often overlooked by musicians. An exceptional pianistic art….” And reviewing an earlier Liszt/Chopin recording, The Times wrote, “You can tell [he] has something beyond the dazzle of any new star. The secret? Partly … it’s his sense of flow. …The other key component is the mastery won over his own finger power. …Yundi Li already knows how to be subtle even when loud. And when he’s restrained he glows with banked fires. … Yundi Li is never reckless; there’s always an artist in firm control, sculpting both tone and phrasing.”
Yundi hails from Chongqing in the People’s Republic of China, where he first learned to play the accordion and won first prize in a competition at the age of five. He switched to the piano at seven and subsequently studied with Dan Zhao Yi, one of China’s most renowned piano teachers.
Yundi has performed with most of the major orchestras in North America, Europe, Russia, Israel and the Far East with conductors including Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Riccardo Chailly and Yuri Temirkanov. He has received particular distinction for his interpretations of concertos by Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel and Tchaikovsky. His recitals throughout North America, including New York’s Carnegie Hall; England, including London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall; France, including Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet and Salle Pleyel; the Salzburg Festival; Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg and across Asia, have touched audiences and critics alike.
Yundi’s association with EMI Classics and a move to new management are expressions of his ongoing commitment to performing at the top of his profession, using all means at his disposal to reach new audiences.
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.1 In B Flat Op.9-1
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.2 In E Flat Op.9-2
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.3 In B Op.9-3
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.4 In F Op.15-1
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.5 In F Sharp Op.15-2
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.6 In G Op.15-3
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.7 In C Sharp Op.27-1
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.8 In D Flat Op.27-2
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.9 In B Op.32-1
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.10 In A Flat Op.32-2
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.11 In G Op.37-1
Yundi - Chopin : Nocturn No.12 In G Op.37-2
Nocturnes: No. 13 in C minor Op. 48 No. 1
Nocturnes: No. 14 in F sharp minor Op. 48 No. 2
Nocturnes: No. 15 in F minor Op. 55 No. 1
Nocturnes: No. 16 in E flat Op. 55 No. 2
Nocturnes: No. 17 in B Op. 62 No. 1
Nocturnes: No. 18 in E Op. 62 No. 2
Nocturnes: No. 19 in E minor Op. 72 No. 1 (posthumous)
Nocturnes: C sharp minor Op. posthumous
Nocturnes: C minor (1837, pub 1938)
“[Yundi] gives fluid, deeply felt performances with musicianship that puts his compatriot Lang Lang in the shade.”
“Yundi's playing is technically lithe and of an immaculate taste and discretion...Highlights...include a magically dreaming F sharp Nocturne, Op. 48 No. 2, with a fine dignity and restraint in the central più lento”
5th March 2010
“If he rests on the surface of Op 15 No 1, he sinks with ease into its companion’s elusive heart; he’s also a complete master of the grand sweep needed for Op 48 No 1.”
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