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China's Well-off Society Gives Flourish to Piano Playing
At a time when China is endeavoring to build a well-off society in an all-round way, it is laying down the condition for parents to encourage their children to study various arts, such as piano playing, painting and dances, renowned Chinese pianist Li Yundi said.

Li Yundi, the 20-year-old musical prodigy, made the remarks plainly to Xinhua in the music room of the five-star Peninsular Hotel in Kowloon, when he gave a media interview to a selected group of reporters. Li was asked how he would respond to remarks from a renowned Hong Kong pianist, who recently commented that Li's success might have contributed substantially to the increasing number of young people taking the dive in the art of piano playing on the Chinese mainland, ever since Li won the 14th Chopin International Competition in 2000.

"I am very glad to hear that if I've been thought to be promoting classical music in China. I think it's a good thing. It's worth doing that because classical music can enrich the culture of the nationals.

"You don't have to study it for a career in music. It can be just for a hobby. Now China has the economic pre-condition for enriching the culture. It might not have had that before. I found parents increasingly let their children study various arts. It's not only piano, but also painting and dancing," he said.

Li, who has expressed love for classical pianists, Rubinstein, Horowits and Gilels, is becoming a famous household name himself in classical piano music in many parts of the world. He is currently in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to present the "Yundi Li Piano Recital" of the Hong Kong Arts Festival on Feb. 23 and 24, when he will play Chopin and Liszt. On Feb. 26, he will also perform with the Orchestra National de France here.

But amidst the hustle-bustle of having to record with the London Symphony Orchestra in June this year, give recitals with NHK Orchestra in Tokyo in Sept, play in the Salzburg Festival in Austria and snatch a prize for his award-winning album titled Liszt at the ECHO prize presentation ceremony in Germany later this year, he has not forgotten his homeland -- China. In march, he will be officially touring China -- for the first time -- to perform in eight cities, starting with his birthplace -- Chongqingin Sichuan Province.

Li has been currently studying under the instruction of Vardi in Hanover, Germany for the second year. With his playing having been hailed by a renowned Hong Kong pianist for being "extremely smooth" and the his tone production for being perfect for every note, Li said that he still needs to work harder in the understanding and interpretation of music.

"The action of playing is merely physical and physiological. It may also be neurological with your fingers moving. But music requires understanding, and it is a matter experiencing life and various subject matters. It requires the accumulation of knowledge and entails the necessary formulation of your own subjective view on those matters for the interpretation part of it.

"At this age, I can't say I understand very well. In a certain age period, it might be a one level of understanding achieved, while another in another period," he said, adding that such underpins the reasons for the level of brilliance and dynamics, and the mood of his or her playing.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2003)

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