• Born 1982
Often appears with
Yundi Li, popularly known as Yundi or YUNDI, is among the most acclaimed and popular Classical pianists of his generation, ranked only behind Lang Lang as the best-known pianist to have emerged from China. Yundi rose to instant stardom with his victory at the 2000 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, and he has since won over an ever-growing and devoted following both from his numerous acclaimed concerts and high-profile, award-winning recordings. His performance style is broad, almost chameleonic, sounding plush and Romantic and fiery for Chopin and Liszt, but turning grittier and darker for works like the Prokofiev Second Concerto and playful and bouncy for the Ravel G major Concerto.
Yundi Li (or, as the Chinese order his names, Li Yundi) was born on October 7, 1982. At age four, he was playing the accordion and by seven was taking piano lessons. His progress was astonishing: in 1995, he won the U.S.-based Stravinsky International Youth Competition. Successes in other competitions followed in the next few years, with a third-place finish in the Liszt International and a first prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. After becoming the youngest pianist ever to capture first prize at the Chopin Competition in 2000, at age 18, Yundi was suddenly in demand. His first recording, an all-Chopin disc on Deutsche Grammophon, was released in 2003. Also, in 2003, Yundi made his Carnegie Hall debut to great acclaim, and DG released his second album, an all-Liszt recording, which The New York Times named "Best CD of the Year." Yundi was initially associated with the works of Chopin and Liszt, but his repertory expanded, taking in works by Domenico Scarlatti, Mozart, Schumann, Prokofiev, and Ravel.
In 2006, Yundi relocated to Hong Kong. His 2007 DG release of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 and the Ravel G major Concerto, with Seiji Ozawa and the Berlin Philharmonic, became a bestseller, making the Classical Billboard chart. The album was cited once more by The New York Times, in this instance, as one of the best classical CDs of the year. After moving to EMI Classics in 2010, Yundi has continued regularly issuing recordings. Among these are Live in Beijing (2011), the first live recording from the city's National Centre for Performing Arts, and The Red Piano (2012), which highlighted piano works by Chinese composers. In 2020, Yundi issued a recording of the Chopin Piano Concertos on Warner Classics, leading the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra from the keyboard.