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HKPO 2008/09 season opens with Yundi Li’s Ravel

12 August 2008

Hong Kong, 12 August 2008 – World renowned Chinese pianist Yundi Li returns to open Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2008/09 season with Ravel’s Piano Concerto, under the orchestra’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Edo de Waart. Yundi Li’s Ravel, with CNOOC Limited as the 2008/09 season’s opening sponsor, will be held on 5 and 6 September (Fri and Sat) at 8pm at HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall. The two concerts will be followed by Yundi Li in Recital, sponsored by Shun Hing Group, to be held on 8 September (Mon) at 8pm at HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

In January this year, Yundi Li and the HKPO under Maestro Edo de Waart, gave three rapturous performances of Prokofiev’s Piano Concert No 2 in front of full-house audiences. Under much public demand, the brilliant young pianist returns to perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, a work he recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic / Seiji Ozawa and released under Deutsche Grammophon. The record won the ultimate accolade as one of The New York Times Recordings of the Year 2007, with the critic commented Yundi’s Ravel as “crackling with energy in the first movement, dreamy in the bluesy Adagio assai and restlessly spirited in the finale.” The Times called his performance “a real blaze of sunshine”.

Following the concerto concerts, Yundi Li will also give a recital, with works by Chopin, Schumann/Liszt, Wang Jian-zhong and Mussorgsky. Best known for his Chopin which has “a tonal elegance, detailing and subtlety that raise it above even the most accomplished of today’s keyboard artists” (The Miami Herald), Yundi Li’s virtuosic side will also be evident in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This ambitious work takes the listener through a gallery of powerful images, presenting pianists with the dual challenge of mastering extreme technical demands while simultaneously conjuring the muitl-coloured sequence of paintings, drawings and stage designs of an exhibition.

A superstar pianist, Yundi Li is a household name at his homeland China, and one of the most internationally acclaimed classical musicians in recent years. He was the youngest winner of the prestigious International Chopin Competition and the first pianist in 15 years to be awarded the coveted prize. Known for his elegant playing, masterful interpretations and youthful desire for continual challenges, it is astounding that at just twenty-five years of age, Yundi Li has garnered the type of media accolade that artists of any genre work their entire lives to receive.

Earlier this month, in celebration of the Beijing Olympic, Yundi Li was being invited to take part in some of the official events, which include being one of the torch runners in Tianjin (1 & 2 August), and appearing as an official speaker at the “What Makes a Champion” Beijing 2008 (4 & 5 August). Alongside Yundi Li, former Prime Minister of UK, Tony Blair, and US political heavyweight, Henry Kissinger, also spoke at the forum held at the Peking University.

Photos: Yundi Li as Olympic torch runner
Photos: Yundi Li at “What Makes a Champion” forum
Other photos of Yundi Li
Photos of Edo de Waart

Programme Details
Yundi Li’s Ravel
08/09 Season’s Opening Sponsor: CNOOC Limited

5 & 6 / 9 / 2008 Friday and Saturday HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall 8 pm
$680, $480, $300, $180

Artists
Edo de Waart conductor
Yundi Li piano

Programme
Messiaen Les Offrandes oubliées
Ravel Piano Concerto in G
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

Yundi Li in Recital
Sponsored by Shun Hing Group

8 / 9 / 2008 Monday HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall 8 pm
HK$680 $480 $380 $280 (very limited tickets available)

Programme
Chopin Nocturne, Op 9, No 2
Chopin 4 Mazurkas, Op 33
Schumann/Liszt Widmung
Wang Jian-zhong Five Yunnan Folksongs
Chopin Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante, Op 22
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

Tickets to the above concerts are available at URBTIX outlets
URBTIX website: www.urbtix.hk
Reservations: 2734 9009
Credit Card booking: 2111 5999
Programme Enquiries: 2721 2030
HKPO Website: www.hkpo.com

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ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Principal Patron to enable Maestro de Waart’s artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities including the city’s largest outdoor symphonic concert in Happy Valley, Swire Symphony under the Stars. Please visit www.hkpo.com for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.