George Li Awarded Silver Medal at International Tchaikovsky Competition XV


Harvard/NEC Program Participant Triumphs and Wins Second Place

July 1, 2015 – Boston, MA – The International Tchaikovsky Competition jury announced today that pianist George Li has placed second at this year’s competition. One of the most highly revered music contests in the international community and a landmark symbol of national culture in Russia, it is held every four years in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The event competition began in 1958. It is currently celebrating its 15th occurrence and also the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s birth. Li tied with Geniusas Lucas, both will take home silver medals.

Only 20 years old, Li is considered one of the world’s most talented and creative young pianists. He has been winning piano competitions since the age of six. Li is an alumnus of NEC’s Preparatory School program. Li’s Prep years include performances on “From the Top” (at age 10 in 2006) and at outgoing NEC President Tony Woodcock’s Installation Ceremony (at age 11 in 2007). Also during his time in the Prep program, he toured with NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra as soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in Vienna, Prague, and other European locations. Li’s Carnegie Hall debut was at the age of 11. At the age of 15, he performed in the White House Rose Garden at a State dinner for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband.

Now a participant in the Harvard and NEC dual degree program, Li’s astonishing technique, distinctive tonal quality, and exceptional musicality have earned him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral collaborations, and chamber music performances. Li’s current NEC piano professors are Russell Sherman and Ms. Wha Kyung Byun.

New England Conservatory’s Interim President, Tom Novak expressed how he felt about Li’s career and recent silver medal win.

“In my 13 years here at NEC, I have enjoyed watching George’s growth – beginning with his work as a student here in our Preparatory School,” said Novak. “Now as a dual degree Harvard/NEC student, he represents the kind of student we’re delighted to claim as ours.  I’m enormously proud!” he said.

More Information About George Li

In addition to winning the Grand Prix Animato Piano Competition (with the Schumann Prize, the Brahms Prize and the Audience Prize) in December 2014, George won third prize in the 2015 US Chopin Competition, and second prize in the 2014 Vendome Prize. In 2012, George received the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award, becoming its youngest recipient. 

With his exceptional musical gifts being recognized by Alfred Brendel, Dimitri Bashkirov, and Menahem Pressler, George was the winner of the Tabor Foundation Piano Award at the 2012 Verbier Academy.  In 2010, George won first prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International audition and since that time has been under management of the YCA. In 2010 he also won first prize at the Inaugural Cooper International Piano Competition. In 2008 George won second prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Junior Artist Competition. 
He has frequently appeared as a soloist with many symphony orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra (Sweden), the Norrkoping Orchestra (Sweden), Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Symphony Orchestra, Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra “I Solisti di Perugia”(Italy), Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Waltham Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra at Temple Square, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (Canada), and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
An active recitalist and orchestral soloist, George has performed in venues throughout the world, including Jordan Hall (Boston), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Musikverein (Vienna), Rudolfinum’s Dvorak Hall (Czech Republic), Severance Hall, Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Mechanics Hall, The Tabernacle, Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

About The International Tchaikovsky Competition

First held more than 50 years ago, the International Tchaikovsky Competition happens once every four years. The first competition in 1958 included two disciplines – piano and violin. Beginning with the second competition, in 1962, a cello category was added, and the vocal division was introduced during the third competition in 1966. In 1990, a fifth discipline was announced for the IX International Tchaikovsky Competition – a contest for violinmakers, which was held before the main competition.

Prior Tchaikovsky Competitions have spawned such renowned musicians as pianists Van Cliburn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mikhail Pletnev, Grigory Sokolov; violinists Viktor Tretiakov, Gidon Kremer, Victoria Mullova; cellists David Geringas, Nathaniel Rosen, Antonio Meneses and singers Evgeny Nesterenko, Elena Obraztsova and Deborah Voigt.

World-renowned pianist and NEC piano department chair, Bruce Brubaker shed some light on Li’s playing and his award.

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I’m thrilled with George Li’s performances in Moscow! (I heard most of it online),” said Brubaker.  “He’s playing in a way that’s bold, and poetic, and emotionally compelling. Bravo George!” He said.

About the Harvard/NEC Dual Degree Program:

The Harvard/NEC program is a joint five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Arts (AB) at Harvard College and a Master of Music (MM) at New England Conservatory.
Each school grants admission independently, requiring separate applications. Eligible high school students apply to both Harvard and New England Conservatory following the institutions’ normal undergraduate application process. In addition, Harvard undergraduates apply to the program during the freshman year at Harvard.
Admission to the program is very competitive. Applicants must demonstrate the highest level of performance ability. Normally, there are 5-6 students admitted each year.
A live audition during the regular audition period (February/March) is required for all performance applicants to the joint program.

About NEC’s Preparatory School Piano Program

NEC Prep is a community K-12 music school conveniently located in one of our nation’s top conservatories. NEC Prep includes students of all levels, ranging from beginner to the extremely advanced. NEC’s faculty provides the program with depth and world-class expertise. The private piano lesson program includes the opportunity to participate in workshops, recitals, evaluations, and an annual concerto competition. These offer every student valuable performance experience and feedback from a variety of teachers.

Private lessons of 30, 45, and 60 minutes are offered for students. Prospective piano students first set up an audition or placement interview with Marilyn Roth, NEC’s Piano Department Chair, who advises each student personally regarding an appropriate studio teacher placement and path of study.

About New England Conservatory (NEC)

A cultural icon approaching its 150th anniversary in 2017, New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized worldwide as a leader among music schools. Founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee, an American music educator, choral conductor and organist; NEC is the oldest independent school of music in the United States. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, on the Avenue of the Arts in the Fenway Cultural District, NEC offers rigorous education in an intimate, nurturing community to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate music students from around the world. Highly regarded for its innovative practices, NEC’s out-of-the-box curriculum yields an expansive range of styles and traditions. NEC’s faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.

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