YUNDI was propelled onto the international stage when he won first prize at the 14th Chopin International Piano Competition at the age of 18, becoming the youngest and first Chinese winner in the history of the renowned competition. Since then, he has been regarded as a leading exponent of Chopin’s music. In recognition of his contribution to Polish culture, the Government of Poland presented a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture ‘Gloria Artis’ to Yundi in 2010. He maintains a strong connection with Poland and sat on the jury of the 17th Chopin Competition in 2015.
This evening Yundi launches an international Chopin recital tour, performing the Four Ballades and the 24 Preludes. With stops at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Moscow’s Barvikha Concert Hall, and New York’s Carnegie Hall, Yundi brings his characteristic “sovereign technique” to audiences around the world (The New York Times). The tour repertoire mirrors that on his two latest releases on Mercury Classics / Deutsche Grammophon: a recording of Chopin Preludes released last year, and an upcoming recording of Chopin’s Ballades, set for release February 26, 2016.
On his regular recital tours, Yundi performs at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall (New York), Royal Festival Hall (London), Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Opera Frankfurt, Herkulessaal (Munich), Gewandhaus Leipzig, Salle Pleyel (Paris), Moscow International House of Music, Mariinsky Concert Hall (St. Petersburg), National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing), Seoul Arts Centre, and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Orchestras and conductors with whom he has collaborated include the Berliner Philharmoniker and Seiji Ozawa, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and Riccardo Chailly, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Daniel Harding, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Philharmonia Orchestra and Andrew Davis, Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, and the Israel Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. He has also performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, NHK Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Yundi is a household name and has a huge following in his native China. In the 2013/14 season, he embarked on a 35-city recital tour of the country, bringing classical music to provincial capitals as well as second- and third-tier cities. In addition to his activities on the concert platform, Yundi is also passionate about humanitarian work. He is an ambassador of the Red Cross Society of China and Environmental and City Image Ambassador for his hometown Chongqing. Equally committed to promoting classical music in an educational context, Yundi is one of the pioneers of musical education in China, where his success story has inspired millions of children learning the piano. He has also given masterclasses at the Royal College of Music, University of Cambridge, and Qinghua University in Beijing. In Autumn 2012, he was appointed Associate Dean and Professor of the Piano Faculty at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, the youngest member of the faculty to achieve the status.
Yundi has an extensive discography on Deutsche Grammophon and EMI Classics. In 2007, he became the first Chinese pianist to record live with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Seiji Ozawa. This Deutsche Grammophon disc met with rave reviews and was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ by Gramophone magazine. For EMI Classics, he recorded the complete Chopin Nocturnes, Live in Beijing, and Red Piano, an album celebrating piano music written by Chinese composers. Among Yundi’s most recent CDs on Mercury Classics / Deutsche Grammophon is a disc that pairs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto (Berliner Philharmoniker / Daniel Harding) with Schumann’s Fantasie in C; this follows a disc of three of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Born in Chongqing, Yundi began piano studies at age seven. He subsequently trained at the Shenzhen Arts School and Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover.