Yundi Li’s piano-playing is a revelation. No one plays Chopin more beautifully right now, and the lightning speed with which he negotiates the tricky scherzos of the world’s most beloved composer for the solo piano only complements the ease and delicacy of his phrasing. After he won the International Chopin Piano Competition when he was 18, Deutsche Grammophon signed him to a multi-year recording contract and he began to star in his own solo programs and as guest artist with some of the world’s great symphony orchestras. He comes to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Tuesday, April 11, ready to shred.
1. He’s got a Steinway in his corner. “The piano is great, but there must also be a good tuner, because humidity can affect the instrument.”
2. He hasn’t played the accordion in years, but he did start on it, and it was through the accordion that he discovered that he loves to perform.
3. Winning isn’t everything. Li insists that he was as surprised as anyone that he won the Chopin competition, and now, six years later, he no longer competes.
4. Stolpman Vineyards is sponsoring, and that means plenty of nice syrah will be poured at the inevitably wild after-party.
5. He’s traveling by himself, so there will be no annoying gatekeeper types to separate him from the crush of concert pianist groupies.