Yundi Li, The Young Romantic

Portrait of the Chinese superstar of the piano

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Program notes

Immersion into the intimacy of the new Chinese pianist generation’s icon, Yundi Li.

Next to Lang Lang, Yuja Wang and Liu Wei, Yundi Li represents this lineage of young Chinese virtuosi who has been lightening the piano universe for the last few years. At 18 years old, Yundi Li is the youngest laureate of the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition of Warsaw. He is taking his career to a next level and becoming an icon in his country and abroad. Renowned for his performances of Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven, he distinguishes himself with his almost exclusive passion for romantic composers.

Yundi, as he likes to be called, is thus the “Young Romantic” Barbara Willis Sweete paints the portrait of. Filmed during a whole year, we discover him in China with those who saw him grow up and become an artist. The movie also shows the rehearsals, since the pianist is about to join forces for the first time on stage the Berlin Philharmonic for the performance of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2. The artistic relation and the obvious affinity between the student and the mentor, the orchestra’s conductor Seiji Ozama, are highlighted in the movie. Seiji Ozawa does not hide his admiration for the virtuoso, who he considers a “poet of the keyboard with amazing facilities”. The inauguration of the National Grand Theater in Beijing, where Yundi Li performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major is also a highlight of the movie. In another genre, we see him attend the concert of an icon of the Taiwanese pop, Jay Chou, where he is also idolized like a pop star.

From his fiery personality to his love of the stage that makes it possible for him to share his feelings with his audience, this portrait allows us to discover all the aspects of the young Warsaw laureate. An exceptional musical sensitivity and a style as wild as feminine make Yundi Li a fascinating bearer of hopes.

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