Global phenomenon Yundi has today announced additional dates to his Chopin world tour. These include dates across Europe at venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Yundi became an international sensation in 2000 when he was awarded the Gold Medal at the International Chopin Competition, the first time it had been awarded in 15 years. Yundi was also the youngest winner at age 18 and the first Chinese musician to win. After 15 years, as the youngest judge, Yundi returned to the International Chopin Competition again.
Since his Chopin Competition win Yundi has been particularly associated with the music of Chopin and for his latest tour he’ll be presenting an all-Chopin programme: Ballades Nos. 1 – 4 and the 24 Preludes. All these works feature on his latest recordings for Deutsche Grammophon for which he’s received incredible praise. The New York Times commented on one of his Chopin recordings that Yundi “is a poetic player with sensitive touch, but also ample power when he needs it.”
“Chopin is a composer I feel particular affinity with and whose music has been central to my playing from my earliest studies. For a composer to commit most of his life to one instrument, the piano, is incredible and his music gives us all the emotions that accompany us through life. I greatly look forward to bringing Chopin’s greatest music to audiences across the world.”
In his native China, Yundi is a household name whose fame is hard for Western audiences to associate with a classical musician. Yundi has over 18 million followers on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter); had a billion viewers for his televised performance at the Chinese Spring Festival Gala; appears in TV commercials with Taylor Swift for Toyota and is ‘Image Ambassador’ to Super Boys, China’s answer to Pop Idol. A long-term Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Yundi recently had 11 albums in the Chinese Classical Top 15 chart. Yundi’s last Chinese tour of 35 cities sold out in 12 minutes.
Born in Chongqing, from an early age Yundi showed great talent in music, learning accordion at 4-years-old and the piano at 7. At the age of 12, Yundi got first in the entrance examination of Sichuan Conservatory of Music. Before long, his talent soon led him to international attention and invitations from around the world.
Widely credited as one of the main reasons for China’s ‘piano fever’ with an estimated 50 million young Chinese people learning the piano, Yundi has always made supporting music education a priority. He has given masterclasses at the Royal College of Music, Cambridge University, Peking University and Qinghua University in Beijing. In Autumn 2012, he was appointed Associate Dean and Professor of the Piano Faculty at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, the youngest member of the faculty to achieve such status.
Other cities Yundi will be visiting with this all-Chopin programme include venues where he’s a regular visitor such as Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Moscow’s Barvikha Concert Hall.
March 12 – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
March 15 – Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton
March 19 – Royal Festival Hall, London