From the Top alum George Li, who wowed audiences on the first season of From the Top at Carnegie Hall and charmed Martha Stewart on her show, recently returned to his hometown of Boston from a concert tour of Sweden. The 14-year-old pianist performed in three Swedish cities with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of renowned conductor and trombonist Maestro Christian Lindberg.
Maestro Lindberg writes in his blog, “I have just opened the season of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, and thanks to the pianist George Li from Boston, an accompanying experience (Saint-Saens G-Minor Concerto) became one of my musical high points this year. George is not only an incredibly young and talented pianist, he is a musician, an artist like few. His power, his poetry, his humor, rhythm and bounce makes one realize that music is divine! Thank you George, hope to be able to work with you soon again!”
George’s father writes, “George has learned so much from Maestro Lindberg and members of the Orchestra that he transformed himself into a member of the great family of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra.
“The most difficult but also most interesting concerts were the mini-concerts George and the orchestra did for more than 400 teenage high school students, who generally dislike classical music. They were restless in their seats but were totally impressed by George’s performance. The moment when George completed his last note, they all stood up, shouting, yelling, screaming and cheering, which was the most unbelievable experience by all the members of the Orchestra.
“We are extremely grateful to Maestro Lindberg, Mr. Akermark, Ms. Anna-Lena Wigren and all member of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden. We are really grateful to George’s piano teacher Ms. Byun, George’s music mentor Maestro Churchill, George’s guardian angel Cathy Chan and all the great teachers in NEC Prep school, who have nurtured George’s music/piano growth and brought George to where he is today. “
A music review from one of the concerts follows below.
Music Review in Tidningen Ĺngermanland 09.09.11
Written by Greger Jacobsson
Translated by Anna-Lena Wigren
I want to thank the Superior Power for this great privilege of having the opportunity to listen to the piano phenomenon George Li at Nolan last night. This is the first visit for the 14-year old boy in Europe and in Sweden, to perform three concerts in Västernorrland County, with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra Sundsvall, led by conductor Christian Lindberg, who is a world renowned trombonist and conductor. Thanks to the Grand Opening of the season 2009-10 organized by the Music Society of Örnsköldsviks. Thanks also to the mini-concert for the youth audience held in the afternoon. In this educational and enchanting mini-concert, pianist George Li was the crown glory whose enthusiastic performance has amazed the youth audiences from high school.
I was amazed and entranced, seized, almost in tears when listening to this young virtuoso in action at the big black Bösendorferflygeln. A playing technique that leaves nothing to be desired of virtuosity on timbre, dynamics, speed, sense of phrasing, equalizations, but with this also a deep musical understanding and heartfelt interpretation, which generally comes with increasing age. The phenomenon George Li already has it from his childhood, and conveys or communicates to its audience in an extraordinary way. The principal piece of the night, the French composer Camille Saint-Saens ekvilibristiska G minor concerto, No. 2 out of five, is a three-movement pianistic firework. George Li managed to take extremely good care of the short melodic vocals obvious elements of breathtaking fast fingers racing and chord progressions along the keys. Conductor Christian Lindberg said he had been totally charmed by the young virtuoso piano performance, energy and musical maturity when seen him at youtube, where George was presented from numerous performances worldwide, including the piano concerto from a recording in Caracas, Venezuela, where music project, El Sistema, founded by this year’s Polar Prize winner José Antonio Abreu, who has given new lives to many young people with difficult living conditions.
George Li began to play piano seriously at age four, after accompanying his older sister’s piano lesson. Soon enough, the fabulous talent and genius of Little George was discovered. For many years George has three to four hours of piano practice and nearly double on weekends. On this northern Sweden tour, George is accompanied by his mom and dad, and his nine-year old little brother Andrew, who is also unusually talented when comes to piano playing.
Do not miss this opportunity to be part of something very unique and special in musikväg, George Li rounded off with a couple of extraordinary encores, an extremely beautiful Chopin nocturne and a breathtakingly and elegantly played piece – Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous Fly of the Bumblebee.