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Interview: From Chopin to Beethoven: Chinese pianist Li Yundi


09:42, March 02, 2013

Li Yundi (file photo)

LONDON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese pianist Li Yundi is to start his European tour this spring. Although he plays around the world every year, this time the tour means something special to him.

"It is the first time I play Beethoven in European tour," he told Xinhua. "I have never played his music in European concert halls for the public."

Li's tour will start on March 18, ending in Berlin on May 14 en route Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, London, Liverpool, Moscow, Strasbourg, among others.

The interview was made when he came to London for preparation. Wearing a black T-shirt for his upcoming flight journey, Li was handsome and eloquent.

"The music of Beethoven is philosophical, with dramatic effects," he said. "I am 30 now, mature enough to understand and interpret Beethoven's works."

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Born in China's southwestern Chongqing Municipality, Li was the youngest pianist to win the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in 2000, at the age of 18.

Li fell in love with music when he was very young. "Granny told me that I liked to listen to the radio as a kid," he said.

Few people know that the first musical instrument Li played was accordion. He shifted to piano when he was seven.

"Many famous musicians left masterpieces for piano, like Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, etc," he said. "Judging from the number of masterpieces, piano was obviously the 'king of musical instruments'," he said.

Admittedly piano has its drawbacks. "Its sound is not long and lasting like violin, but musicians could make up for this with their techniques."

People always think of Chopin at the mentioning of Li because of his award, which had produced no winner for 15 years.

"I began to practice Chopin systematically as preparation for the contest," he said.

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