Anyone seen Chopin’s missing juror?

Anyone seen Chopin’s missing juror?


norman lebrecht

October 11, 2015

We had a cryptic message from a Warsaw contact saying Yundi Li, the 2000 winner, had vanished from the juror. ‘Yundi is presently getting married.’ Which, for all sorts of reasons, seemed unlikely.

But Yundi’s social media have gone unusually quiet – he hasn’t tweeted in half a week – and Rudolph Tang has come up with pics of the pianist dancing at a pal’s wedding in Shanghai. This seems to be the source.

yundi groom

(Yundi’s on  the far right


These Shanghai weddings are not quick registry affairs. The eating and drinking goes on for days.

Will Yundi be back for the final round? We’re waiting to hear from him. The Poles are not best pleased.


yundi seat


  • Sally says:

    I guess I am old-fashioned. When you make a commitment, then if something else comes up that you’d rather do – you need to honor that initial commitment. This was not a last minute deal. He had to know about this wedding for months. He could have asked the jury committee to replace him. Terrible sign of immaturity.

  • Gavin says:

    Yundi has a history of canceling commitments he’d rather not do (his 2015 European tour comes to mind). This is not the way a professional should behave. This Chopin Competition absence is becoming quite the scandal in China, not only because it’s one of the most expensive weddings in China (the height of conspicuous consumption), but because Yundi is so cavalier about ditching the jury. Yundi is a joke.

    • sailing says:

      According to the official Chopin Institute and I quote directly here: ‘Mr Yundi Li left for personal reasons. There are 17 jury members, so short absence of one of them shouldn’t affect the verdict.’ Yundi had gotten the permission of the official Chopin Institute, and his 3-day absence wouldn’t affect the verdict of this competition. Maybe you didn’t know that he played Chopin’s prelude on this wedding, his performance was also broadcasted national-widely propagating Chopin and his work. As for cancelling his 2015 European tour, he had a really proper reason which was his father who was badly ill need his companion during that time. He also suffered enormous lost because many of the concerts were already sold out. You vilify Yundi here, and you also smear your own country, you are the clown

      • Grace-notes says:

        Since when does Chopin’s music need “propagating” — in China, or anywhere else??? Very unprofessional of Yundi and the Chopin Competition to allow this. This jury doesn’t need Yundi – there are other fine musicians who would do a much better job of adjudicating. And anyway, it’s Martha Argerich who will decide the winner — nobody will dare go against her opinion, and the whole world will hear about it if they do.

        • sailing says:

          You would not comment Argrich like this if you knew that Argrich withdrew from the jury in 1980 because Pogorelich failed to be elected. Furthermore, she was also absent for the first stage in 2000. Do you mean that she ignored the Institute and didn’t respect other members of the jury? If you ever had a look on norman’s blog you would have the idea that the popularity of the classical music is decaying among the trend, for which reason any efforts made to propagating it should be valued. Nevertheless, you don’t know well of normanas well as Argrich. I can’t help to conjecture the motivation of your maligning on Yundi.

  • Milka says:

    That the Poles allowed this hubris does not speak well for them.,it shows that the Chopin competition means little or nothing in the scheme of things especially to Li .
    The Poles show a lack of dignity by allowing this creature back on the panel , he should
    be expelled and sent packing .

  • ApplePie1007 says:

    Langlang’s fans kept bothering the chopin institue since last week for “sending yundi packing”,it’s a shame it didn’t work out 🙂

    • Milka says:

      Both Lang lang and Li are not worth a spit in the ocean.The Chopin competition
      comes out without much integrity .If it is truly up to Argerich in the final run ,it is even more without merit .

      • Ed says:

        Man, chill out a little. They’re all wonderful musicians, and to think Argerich is anything but a justly influential pianist is sticking your head in the sand. We all may have differing views of different musicians, but it doesn’t cost us anything to be respectful. Also, the proof is in the pudding with the Chopin Competition – Argerich, Pollini, Zimerman etc. – and in the years to come, we’ll see how the more recent winners contribute to the world of music. Let’s just chill out, and enjoy the music.

  • Olga says:

    Jury members should be distinguished, experienced musicians as well as people of high professional integrity. I don’t think that this man fits into this category and his appointment really does nothing to the further the credibility of this competition.

  • rebecca says:

    The attacks to yundi is horrible.

  • meowzart says:

    Yundi went to his movie star friend’s wedding and played in his wedding. This is a huge event in the entertainment star world,
    cost $3,000,000, as the “century luxury wedding”.
    He has to be there.
    I want to know how come Chopin competition accepted Yundi’s
    request for not stay in the competition for two days.
    According to the China newspaper,
    Yundi said there are 17 judges, the competition won’t be going wrong just without me.