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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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George Li, Piano

Friday, October 27, 2017 7:30 PM Weill Recital Hall
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George Li by Christian Steiner
He is a powerhouse,” wrote The New York Times of pianist George Li, while The Washington Post said, “there was mind-boggling fluency in Li’s fingerings, an effortlessness to his playing, a beguiling fluidity to his phrasing, a precision to his crisp attacks.” The 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition’s silver medalist makes his Carnegie Hall debut in an eagerly anticipated recital.

Part of: Distinctive Debuts


George Li, Piano


HAYDN Piano Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI: 32
CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35
RACHMANINOFF Variations on a Theme of Corelli
LISZT Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major
LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp Minor

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

Distinctive Debuts is supported by endowment gifts from The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

At a Glance

JOSEPH HAYDN  Piano Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI: 32

Although most concertgoers more readily associate Haydn with symphonies and string quartets than keyboard music, he wrote dozens of masterful sonatas, variations, and other works for both harpsichord and piano. Composed in 1776, the B-Minor Sonata was earmarked for the older instrument, but the music’s passionate character and vividly dramatic contrasts are unmistakably pianistic.

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN  Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35

The second of Chopin’s three piano sonatas is built around the famous funeral march that serves as its slow movement. From the volatile first movement to the brief, etude-like finale, the Sonata in B-flat Minor enacts a struggle between discordant and ultimately irreconcilable forces. Even Schumann, one of Chopin’s earliest and most loyal supporters, found the work’s enigmatic message hard to fathom.

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF  Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Equally renowned as a composer and pianist, Rachmaninoff used the theme-and-variation form as a vehicle for displaying both his compositional ingenuity and his virtuoso technique. Variations on a Theme of Corelli, written in 1931 and based on a popular Baroque chord progression known as the “folia,” anticipates his dazzlingly inventive Paganini Variations, composed in 1934 for piano and orchestra.

FRANZ LISZT  Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp Minor

A seminal figure in the Romantic movement, Liszt was also a musical visionary whose works prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. His vast catalog includes some thousand works in many genres, but he is best known for his brilliantly virtuosic and richly poetic piano music. The introspective lyricism of the Consolation in D-flat Major contrasts with the bravura character of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.


George Li
George Li possesses brilliant virtuosity and effortless grace far beyond his years. He was most recently awarded the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant and silver medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Mr. Li’s recent and upcoming concerto highlights include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra under Manfred Honeck, London Symphony Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda (on a tour of Asia), St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov, and Philharmonia Orchestra under Long Yu, as well as the Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous others across the globe. Mr. Li frequently appears with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, and has performed with the celebrated ensemble at the Paris Philharmonie, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Grafenegg Festival.

As a recitalist, Mr. Li has appeared at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco; Munich’s Gasteig; the Louvre Museum in Paris; the Seoul Arts Center; Tokyo’s Hamarikyu Asahi Hall and Musashino Civic Cultural Hall; the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing; and the Ravinia, Lanaudière, Edinburgh, and Montreux festivals. As a chamber musician, he has performed alongside James Ehnes, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Benjamin Beilman, Kian Soltani, Pablo Ferrández, and Daniel Lozakovich.

George Li gave his first public performance in Boston at the age of 10. In 2011, he performed for President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. Among Mr. Li’s many accolades are first prize at the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 2012 Gilmore Young Artist Award. He is currently enrolled in the Harvard University / New England Conservatory dual degree program, studying with Wha Kyung Byun.

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