George Li

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George Li (黎卓宇)
Birth name George Li
Born August 24, 1995 (1995-08-24) (age 21)
Origin Massachusetts, USA
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Pianist
Instruments Piano
Years active 2004-present

George Li (Chinese: 黎卓宇; pinyin: Lí zhuōyǔ) (born August 24, 1995) is a Chinese American concert pianist, recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 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. He began piano lessons at the age of 4 with Dorothy Shi, and later studied with Yin Chengzong, before transferring to his current 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 gained significant renown as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. At the age of eleven, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, which was featured in the new TV series produced by NPR, From the Top.[1] His performance on the Martha Stewart Show followed two weeks later.[2]

Among the orchestras he has soloed with include the include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra,[3] Xiamen Philharmonic, Symphony Pro Musica,[4] Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (Venezuela;, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra,[5] Brooklyn Philharmonic,[6] Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra,[7] Miami Symphony Orchestra,[8] Waltham Symphony Orchestra ,[9] Nordic Chamber Orchestra Sweden,[10] Princeton Symphony Orchestra,[11] Albany Symphony Orchestra,[12] Lexington Symphony Orchestra ,[13] Orchestra "I Solisti di Perugia" (Spoleto, Italy),[14] Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra,[15] Rdigewood Symphony Orchestra [16] and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of New England Concervatory.[17]

Li was awarded the first prizes in the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association state competitions at the age of 6 and 7. In 2005, Li won second prizes in both the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition [18] 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.[19] In 2010, Li captured first prize in the Cooper International Piano Competition[20][21] Months following his triumph in Oberlin, George Li captured first prize in the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

On July 1, 2015, George Li won 2nd 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 studies with Wha Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman. [25]

Li is currently enrolled in the dual degree program at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory.


  1. ^ "NPR From the Top TV Series Season 1: Episo 4". 
  2. ^ "George Li On Martha Stewart Show - World News". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  3. ^ "Cooper International Piano Competition: reflections and the final round at Severance Hall". The Blog. 
  4. ^ "Piano virtuoso, 12, dominates Pro Musica's season opener". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA). November 19, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Guest soloist at 13; BPO taps pianist George Li to help open 149th Worcester Music Festival". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA). October 16, 2008. 
  6. ^ "The 18th Interfaith Concert of Remembrance". Interfaith Committee of Remembrance. October 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ "13-Year-Old, George Li, Performs with Spartanburg Philharmonic". December 2, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Review: Pianist George Li, 12, celebrates Mendelssohn's bicentennial" (PDF). March 24, 2009. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "George Li’s Swedish Tour". From The Top Green Room. September 16, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s 30th Season Opens with Wunderkind Pianist George Li". Town Topics. October 7, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Albany Symphony Orchestra @ Palace Theatre". November 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Li to perform with symphony Saturday". Lexington Minuteman. November 14, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-11-30. 
  14. ^ "Assisi nel Mondo Festival – George Li and Mindy Chen with the I Solisti di Perugia". Umbria Online News. May 29, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Piano phenom stuns SASO audience". Arizona Daily Star. September 26, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Ridgewood Symphony to Present Teen-Aged Piano Prodigy". Ramapo Times. April 4, 2011. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. 
  17. ^ "YPO + Zander". December 15, 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. 
  18. ^ "2005 winners list". Virginia Waring International Piano Competition Official Website. January 2005. 
  19. ^ "2008 Junior Competition WINNERS LIST". Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition Official Website. July 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. 
  20. ^ "Pianist George Li, 14, is the Winner of the Cooper Competition". The Thomas & Evon Cooper International Piano Competition Official Website. July 30, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Lexington youth wins music competition". by Cindy Cantrell, West People column, Boston Globe. August 20, 2010. 
  22. ^ "George Li, pianist". Young Concert Artists Official Website. December 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. 
  23. ^ "Press Release" (PDF). White House. June 7, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Current Gilmore Young Artists". June 23, 2011. 
  25. ^ "NEC Prep Pianist George Li Plays at White House". New England Conservatory Official Website. June 8, 2011. 

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