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Li Yundi: Chinese wind blew to piano art

(Guangming Daily)

15:15, October 24, 2012

(File Photo)

Chinese folk music and piano art, two seemingly distant elements combine together in a young pianist’s hands. Li Yundi, the youngest gold winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition, is regarded as a genius similar to Chopin in piano techniques and artistic style. However, he prefers to step into Chopin’s heart, and listen to the echoes across ages and borders.

“Every time the performance is over, many from the audience come to me and ask about the background of Chinese music. Where is it from? What is it about? Which instrument did it originally use? ” Li introduced, “Especially for Pihuang, which was adapted from Peking opera, many people have a special passion.”

“My dream is to spread Chinese musical culture to the world through piano, allowing the world to touch the soul of Chinese music.” Li said.

He can’t forget the shock and pride he felt when he got on the international podium at the age of 18. “At that time, I knew I was representing young Chinese piano learners. When the cheers and congratulations came to my ears, suddenly a strong attachment to my motherland struck me.”

Before winning the gold, Li had never been abroad. He grew up in the cultivation of Chinese culture and learned to play the piano under the instruction of domestic teacher. National pride has been rooted in his mind. When he studied in Germany, or toured abroad, he felt a kind of homesickness. The farther he was away from home, the more strongly he missed China. Thus, he started to consider the internationalization of Chinese music. When he performed abroad, he always included some pieces of Chinese music into his performance.

He is also profoundly influenced by his idol Chopin in terms of patriotic feelings. “When I was a child, I was used to listening to Chopin’s pieces before getting to sleep. I thought the melodies were beautiful and clean. As time passed by, I have found that it is more important to perceive the sentiments and responsibilities in the music.” Chopin insisted on writing music with love for his motherland Poland. When he died, he asked people to convey his heart back, which made a strong impression on Li Yundi.

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