George Li

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George Li
Birth nameGeorge Li
BornAugust 24, 1995 (1995-08-24) (age 27)
OriginBoston, Massachusetts
Years active2004-present
LabelsWarner Classics

George Li (Chinese: 黎卓宇; pinyin: Lí zhuōyǔ; born August 24, 1995) is an American concert pianist who was a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2016 and silver medalist of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Early life[edit]

George Li was born on August 24, 1995, in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents from the People's Republic of China.[1] He began piano lessons at the age of 4, and later studied with Yin Chengzong, before transferring to teachers Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman.


Li made his orchestral debut with the Xiamen Philharmonic at the age of 9, a year after which he made his solo recital debut in his native Boston. Since then, he has been a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. At the age of 11, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, which was featured in the new TV series produced by NPR, From the Top.[2] His performance on the Martha Stewart Show followed two weeks later.[3]

Among the orchestras he has soloed with include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra,[4] Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra,[5] Brooklyn Philharmonic,[6] Waltham Symphony Orchestra,[7] Princeton Symphony Orchestra,[8] Albany Symphony Orchestra,[9] Lexington Symphony Orchestra,[10] and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.[11]

Li was awarded first prize in the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association state competitions at the age of 6 and 7. In 2005, Li won second prize in both the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition [12] and the Cincinnati World Piano Competition at the age of nine. In 2008, Li won the second prize in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Junior Artist Competition.[13] In 2010, Li captured first prize in the inaugural Cooper International Piano Competition[14][15] Just months after his triumph in Oberlin, George Li captured first prize in the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.[16]

On June 7, 2011, Li performed for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and her husband Dr. Joachim Sauer at a state dinner in the White House Rose Garden.[17] On June 23, 2011, Li was selected to be one of the two recipients of the 2012 Gilmore Young Artist Award. He is currently the youngest recipient of the award.[18]

On July 1, 2015, Li won second prize, tied with Lukas Geniušas, in the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition. Since then, he has enjoyed a busy international performing career, including recitals, chamber music performances, and appearances with major orchestras in North America, Asia, and Europe. He was one of the four recipients of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant.


Li resides in Lexington, Massachusetts. He graduated from Walnut Hill School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he studied with Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman.[19]

Li graduated from the dual degree program at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory in 2018.[20] He is currently a candidate in New England Conservatory's prestigious and highly-selective Artist Diploma program.


  1. ^ Jean-Pierre Thiollet, 88 notes pour piano solo, Neva Editions, 2015, p.131. ISBN 978-2-3505-5192-0
  2. ^ "NPR From the Top TV Series Season 1: Episo 4".
  3. ^ "George Li On Martha Stewart Show - World News". Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  4. ^ "Cooper International Piano Competition: reflections and the final round at Severance Hall". The Blog. Archived from the original on 2017-12-25. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  5. ^ "Guest soloist at 13; BPO taps pianist George Li to help open 149th Worcester Music Festival". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA). October 16, 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ "The 18th Interfaith Concert of Remembrance". Interfaith Committee of Remembrance. October 25, 2008.
  7. ^ "Pianist George Li is joining the Waltham Symphony Orchestra to Perform the Mendelssohn's Concerto No.1". March 28, 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15.
  8. ^ "Princeton Symphony Orchestra's 30th Season Opens with Wunderkind Pianist George Li". Town Topics. October 7, 2009.
  9. ^ "Albany Symphony Orchestra @ Palace Theatre". November 14, 2009.
  10. ^ "Li to perform with symphony Saturday". Lexington Minuteman. November 14, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-11-30.
  11. ^ "Organ Symphony". DSO. Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  12. ^ "2005 winners list". Virginia Waring International Piano Competition Official Website. January 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-11-19.
  13. ^ "2008 Junior Competition WINNERS LIST". Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition Official Website. July 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27.
  14. ^ "Pianist George Li, 14, is the Winner of the Cooper Competition". The Thomas & Evon Cooper International Piano Competition Official Website. July 30, 2010. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "Lexington youth wins music competition". by Cindy Cantrell, West People column, Boston Globe. August 20, 2010.
  16. ^ "George Li, pianist". Young Concert Artists Official Website. December 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.
  17. ^ "Press Release" (PDF). June 7, 2011 – via National Archives.
  18. ^ "Current Gilmore Young Artists". June 23, 2011.
  19. ^ "NEC Prep Pianist George Li Plays at White House". New England Conservatory Official Website. June 8, 2011.
  20. ^ "About George Li". George Li's Official Website. June 8, 2019.

External links[edit]