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About George Li
The American pianist George Li has made the transition from child prodigy to prominent competition prize-winner to successful international touring pianist.
Li was born August 24, 1995, in Boston. His parents are Chinese immigrants. Li began studying the piano at age four and attended the prestigious Walnut Hill boarding school in nearby Natick. Quickly identified as unusually talented, he won first prizes in Massachusetts Music Teachers state competitions for two years running, when he was six and seven. He took second prizes in two international competitions for children and moved on to the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. For some years he worked there with teachers Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman. Li made his orchestra debut in China with the Xiamen Philharmonic at age nine. At 11 he performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, following that up two weeks later with an appearance on the television show of designer/host Martha Stewart. He performed at a state dinner at the White House for President Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel in 2011. The following year he received the Gilmore Young Artists Grant.
Li's list of concert appearances as a high school and college student has been impressive, including dates with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (under Gustavo Dudamel), the San Francisco Symphony, the Hamburg Philharmonic with Manfred Honeck, the London Symphony Orchestra (on an Asian tour), the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, and many others. In addition to his Carnegie Hall recital, he has given concerts at the Louvre, Tokyo's Asahi Hall, the Edinburgh Festival, and other high-profile venues. Li has been especially prominent in St. Petersburg, appearing frequently with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev both in Russia and worldwide, and giving a recital at the Mariinsky Theater. That recital, featuring Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme by Corelli, was recorded and issued as Li's debut CD on the Warner Classics label in 2017.
Accepted at Harvard, Yale, the Juilliard School, and the Curtis Institute, Li enrolled in a dual degree program jointly at Harvard and the New England Conservatory. Despite the strong record he has amassed as a young adult, he remains modest: "My parents told me you can always find a teacher among any three people on the street," he observed to Bostonese. ~ James Manheim