The Chinese pianist Yundi, formerly known as Yundi Li, has signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI. The contract embraces recordings of Chopin’s complete solo piano works and the first disc, to be issued in March, will be of the complete Nocturnes.
Yundi, who made a number of well-received recordings for DG, shot to prominence when he won the 14th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2000 – he was the first pianist in 15 years to be awarded the First Prize and, at 18, also the youngest.
Stephen Johns, Vice President, A&R, EMI Classics, commented, "We are extremely pleased to be welcoming Yundi to the EMI Classics label. Yundi's musicianship and artistry has already captivated audiences around the world, and his desire continually to seek new challenges mirrors our own ambitions to bring great music in new and innovative ways to a wide public. We are particularly excited by Yundi's championing of the music of Chopin and in this, his anniversary year."
His plans for Chopin Year include a Chopin Birthday Concert in Warsaw on March 1, recitals in Hong Kong, Beirut, Eindhoven, London (Royal Festival Hall, March 16), Dortmund, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Porto, Abu Dhabi, New York (Carnegie Hall), Paris, Frankfurt, Munich and Milan. Concerto engagements include dates with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
Reviewing his concerto disc of Prokofiev and Ravel, Gramophone’s Bryce Morrison wrote of Yundi’s Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto that “in its prodigious, unflagging power and brilliance, far surpasses any other in the catalogue”.