Lucerne gives 25 grand to US pianist

Lucerne gives 25 grand to US pianist


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2017

George Li, 22, has been awarded the Arthur Waser Förderpreis 2017, worth 25,000 Swiss francs and a debut with the Lucerne Symphony.


  • Ben says:

    Please don’t Lang Lang it, please.

    • Nathan Davis says:

      Don’t worry…he won’t! 🙂

    • Steinway Fanatic says:

      Lang-Lang isn’t worthy to shine George Li’s shoes! George Li is Tiffany’s, Lang-Lang is K-Mart.

      • Harold Lewis says:

        It is possible to praise one pianist without denigrating another. Bashing Lang Lang is an unnecessary, tedious and misguided pursuit.

      • Nick says:

        TO: STEINWAY FANATIC MORON: This is YOUR opinion and you are privileged to have it ALONE in your Tiffany kitchen. The rest of us way prefer your K-Mart, sounds much better, natural and REAL!!

        • Listen Up says:

          I get it – there’s no denigration here, but rather a recognition of quality – a comparison between good and great. Compare a rhinestone to a diamond, ginger ale to champagne, etc. A consumer with true expertise can discern the difference.

  • Tim W says:

    Well deserved. I performed the Beethoven first concerto with him a couple of years ago. His playing is technically immaculate, sensitive, and mature.

  • Willow says:

    Congratulations, George!

  • Karen says:

    Very happy to hear this good news and congrats to George Li – Silver medalist at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and under artist management by Intermusica and Opus 3 Artists — pretty impressive for a 21 year old, I must say … Bravo Mr. Li !

  • Richard Glazier says:

    So well deserved!!

  • Andrys says:

    They’re spending their money wisely. An amazing pianist already, and I’m looking forward to hearing him here in Oct…

  • Alexander says:

    last year I ( unfortunately) deliberately skipped his performances, this or next year I’ll try to do my best to “catch up with” his recitals ( BBC influence 😉 ) … from what I’ve heard on him ( and your words , the folk above) he is worth listening to …

    • Nick says:

      Do not worry about the skipped concert of G. Li. Pianists like George Li are a dime a dozen! Li is a competent piano player. He is clean, fast and lasts long. He has nerves of steel, mind of a computer and a soul of a beggar on welfare! Hence his performances. Naturally, they satisfy the juries of the competitions for a few reasons, namely
      1. juries judge performances on tangible issues: cleanliness, speed, overall “musicality” whatever that means, physical stamina and endurance. These are objective parameters, these can be evaluated!!
      2. members of the juries come usually from different schools, different philosophies and different cultures. And while it seems (particularly to the political Left, as perfectly normal and objective, fair and an equal opportunity for all) it presents a HUGE problem: if all these very different people come together on an opinion that a particular candidate is good that means that the candidate in question sounds good to all of them, and all of them are different; in other words, the candidate does not offend ANY of the jurors’ tastes, i.e. the candidate HAS NO ARTISTIC PERSONALITY, and this candidate wins. George Li fits the description like no other contestant, hence his prizes. However, when it comes to Music and Artistry, personality is ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS. George Li has nothing to offer as far as personality goes. Lang Lang has a lot to offer. Naturally, Lang Lang never participated in any competitions as an adult – he does not need it. He certainly can play clean, fast and for a long time, like any other pianist, but that is not the issue. May be Lang Lang can even plya faster and cleaner than many others including George Li.

      So you did not miss much. Listen to real artists: Lang Lang, M. Pletnev, R. Lupu, P. Andrszewski, N. Mndoyants, Yuja Wang, L. Debargue – there is quite a number of phenomenally talented Musicians and Artists out there. George Li is NOT ONE OF THEM. He is just another competition winner among thousands, literally thousands of these grey pianistic mice.

      • Listen Up says:

        You’re mistaking your personal tastes for expertise – and the forceps delivery of your opinions betrays your ignorance. Of course it’s a free country, so please like whomever you wish, but George Li is being engaged by conductors of the calibre of Dudamel, Gergiev, Noseda, Tilson Thomas, Honeck, & Temirkanov, he’s playing regularly with top orchestras on 4 continents, and has a multi-album deal with Warner – so just be aware that the world at large strongly disagrees with you.

        • Nick says:

          You LISTEN UP!! You are either naive and stupid or Li’s manager/PR and/or family member. All of these can be comparably aggressive.
          You are uncomfortably a tad too close and “aware” of Mr. Li concert schedule and conductors’ names. Your aggression gives you away. You should also know what Mr. Li wears for each performance and which hotels he stays in. I’ve seen people like you on my way.
          The “forceps of my delivery” is not an opinion unfortunately, but a first-hand knowledge. Yours – is simple statistics. But, as I thought, you probably are on the other side of the public spectrum. And you obviously know what the “world at large” thinks! That, by the way, is also statistics.
          However, in the arts it is not the numbers and names that matter, it is PERSONALITY.

          • Pearla says:

            Your venumus bluster is a poor substitute for substance in your shallow argument. The great conductors engaging (and re engaging) George Li are doing so because they recognize his rare artistry & musicianship, and not because someone put a gun to their heads. True, he doesn’t stare at the ceiling and flail his arms in the air while he plays – but if you listen with your ears instead of your eyes, you might feel compelled to revise your primitive conclusions.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    These posts, in the end, do not amount to much. There are countless of fine players of all instruments in the world. They come and go for various reasons. But we all get old–and quickly–and when we come to terms that we are not immortal, we question why we are here and what we want to leave the world when we do leave.

    I only teach young pianists who are admitted to my studio. I do not criticize nor judge other pianists nor their teachers nor students. I teach my own students about sound, phrasing, delivery, and help them develop their own ‘magical touch’. That is all we can do as teachers. The various components of the business end are too much to discuss here, and won’t accomplish anything. In the end, it is these young artists’s moral responsibility to uphold the classics and make sure they live on in concerts and recordings for the present day audiences and future audiences. What I will share here, is something I share with these young artists whenever possible, and if they heed my advice, all the better for them and for the future of music: commission new works for your instrument. Don’t rely solely on the success at the moment from a competition win or being a hot ticket seller. Nothing lasts forever. But, fostering the expansion of the repertoire for your instrument is a noble, honorable and very historically significant entity and I stress this when some of these young artists are in contact with me. But bashing others is just not my thing and is not even self-serving. There are plenty of eyes and ears to be satisfied by all artists, and everyone has their own personal taste.

    • Nick says:

      Very much agree with JEFFREY BIEGEL. I prefer not to judge.
      My initial response was to the moronic STEINWAY FANATIC statement about shoe shining, where “Lang Lang should apparently shine Mr. Li’s shoes”. How is this argument not “shallow” and mine, that comes from years of life experience, is?!? PEARLA!! 🙂

      We judge very loosely. So, better not. At the end of the day, all is a matter of personal taste, level of culture, academic background, ears and education. But some younger generation “artists” and their over-protective families and managers are litigious, and will go far to keep their “geniuses” safe. Mr. Li certainly belongs to that exclusive group.

      We laugh (not all of us, but the political Left does) at the threat to assassinate The President, but the same people who laugh at that, are fully armed when we dare say that George Li (how to put mildly) is not exactly Radu Lupu or Mikhail Pletnev and never will be simply by definition. These people feel personally insulted for some reason for Mr. Li, and they insult back, but they insult with aggression. And the level of that aggression is the same as Kathy Griffin’s. Not only SAD, but very dangerous!

      • Harmonaire says:

        Take your meds, pal. No, they won’t cure you, but they’ll calm you down. Your jealousy of George Li’s well earned success is all too obvious.

      • Karen says:

        Ofcourse, George Li is not Radu Lupu, and Radu Lupu is not George Li. Each artist speaks to his own unique qualities.

        Just because one person here made a silly comment about shining shoes & Lang Lang, does not mean you are hereinafter entitled to go about denigrating Mr. Li. No one is feeling ‘personally insulted’ here, but we may be experiencing a natural human reaction to your uncalled for attacks and unfortunate choice of words. You have your own musical tastes and everyone here can respect that ofcourse, but there is simply no reason for you to attack any one single artist. Your misguided sense of superiority in your musical tastes is painfully apparent to many who are reading your comments here, and unfortunately, it shows poorly on you.

        Most, if not all, of the greatest musical artists are humble beings, often generous and giving in their support of all young musical talent, however different their musical tastes may be. You are entitled to your musical tastes ofcourse…but who are you to feel so entitled to denigrate and insult a young musical artist who has worked so incredibly hard all his life towards his art and musicianship.

        George Li , at the young age of 21, has already earned recognition among conductors in the great concert halls of the world and his audiences love and adore him. Those who appreciate George Li’s very fine musical interpretations (and it is simply a fact that there are many, to put it mildly) will continue to follow him and delight in his unique musical development and artistic achievements in the decades to come. Congratulations again to George Li on being awarded the Arthur Waser Förderpreis 2017 !

    • La Verita says:

      On the contrary, there’s wisdom to be gained from these arguments- even from the most virulent and misguided of them. They demonstrate that some folks mistake their own personal belief-systems for supreme wisdom, and then seek to bully & clobber everyone else over the head with it. And it shows how threatened they are when someone comes along who demonstrates deeper knowledge of the subject. Passion & enthusiasm are admirable, but they are poor substitutes for acquired knowledge & expertise – and any reasonably intelligent reader can discern the difference amongst the various comments entered here.

  • Nick says:

    @KAREN Yup, George Li is not Radu Lupu (and will never be), but not vice versa. You are simply stupid to suggest the opposite. There is no MY judgement or taste, let alone envy (!?). I never aspired to be in Li’s shoes, whether shined by Lang Lang or my neighborhood shoemaker.
    All your statements are NOTHING but statistics: “…earned recognition among conductors in the great concert halls of the world and his audiences love and adore him…” this is all BS – nothing else. All that had a very well-oiled PR machine behind and we all know that. If you do not, sorry, educate yourself. You are an amateur. Unlike you, the unhappy Leftists and liberals, I am very realistic. I have followed numerous talented young artists all my life – my occupation. And I know exactly what I am talking about. If you do not want to believe it, it is FINE WITH ME. Don’t!! Adore you new acquired genius and attend all his concerts. Please !!!! Do me a favor. This will not change a thing. The business will tolerate him as long as the profit from his appearances will keep coming. When it stops Mr. Li will be forgotten sooner than you will be able to pronounce his name. But it will not matter much to you anyway. You will still insist on your insults and still be equalizing artists like Lupu and Pletnev or Wang and Lang with up-and-coming overly ambitious youngsters with modest artistic potential. Your relentless attacks just give away your weakness and the weakness of your arguments. At least I am not aggressive and not insulting. Good for you! Keep at it. There is no such thing as supreme belief system (well not in the real world), may be only in the Left inclined world. The problem is that most of you do not see the difference between educated opinion of the few and an uneducated opinion of the masses. Now you will say, that I think of myself as educated. Well, guess what, yes I AM! Educated well enough to HEAR THE DIFFERENCE and recognize it. I am not against Li or for Lang. I am simply well educated. Most of you, as I can see from your comments, are not.

  • True Grit says:

    Thank you for laying bare your modest listening skills with your Kelleyann Conway-style arguments. No question about it: Gergiev, Temirkanov & Dudamel know absolutely nothing about talent, and should have consulted with Nick The Almighty before engaging George Li.

  • Stephen says:

    Well, there is certainly one person here that many of us will know to block and never to bother reading his comments or pay any attention to again ! : )

    • Nick says:

      Oh, that STEPHEN again, a real Left lib is talking. “TOLERANCE, TOLERANCE!” (but only if it agrees with your learned opinion, other opinions should be blocked and not paid attention to!) You are right and that is why you are who you are…. ;-)) (do not want to mar cyberspace with unprintable).