Nineteen-year-old Chinese pianist Li Yundi's first CD "Yundi Li: Chopin" has been released in the Chinese mainland.
Li was the first-prize winner in last year's 14th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. He has since made several records. The first winner of the first prize in 15 years (the prize remained vacant for the previous two competitions), he is the youngest first-prize winner in the history of the competition.
Earlier this year, Li became the first Chinese pianist signed to the world-famous classical music label, Deutsche Grammophon.
"The Chopin Competition is just the beginning of my career," said Li, who is now a student at the Hannover Conservatory in Germany. "Now I spend most of my time studying and accumulating my repertory."
The CD "Yundi Li: Chopin" was first released in Japan and was warmly welcomed. The sales volume in Japan has reached 200,000.
In Japan, Li was said to resemble the Japanese idol star Kimura Takuya. Coincidentally, several Chopin works that Li plays in his CD were used in the Japanese TV series "Long Vacation," such as the Piano Sonata No 3 and Nocturne No 2.
Although Li didn't know who Kimura Takuya is, he did meet him during his promotional trip in Japan. The NHK even made two special programs for this event.
Li's first CD included some of his favorite Chopin's works - "Impromptu No 4 in C sharp minor," "Nocturne in E flat major" and "Etude in A minor."
"His greatest strength lies in the representation of Chopin's diverse utterances, ranging from melancholy to a longing for death, from heart-rending lyrical moments to heart-shattering outbursts," said music critic Carsten Durer.
Last Wednesday at a ceremony celebrating the release of Li's CD, it was jointly announced by the CD's releasing agents IF Music and Push Sound Music that for every copy of Li's CD sold in Chinese mainland, 4 yuan(US$48 cents) will be donated to the United Nations Children's Fund.
"It is very important to ensure that the customers are buying a genuine record, and we hope many Chinese children living in poor areas will benefit from the sales of Li Yundi's new record," said David Parker, senior program coordinator of the Area Office for China and Mongolia of the United Nations Children's Fund.
(China Daily December 25, 2001)