George Li Wins YCA

15-year old pianist George Li wins Young Concert Artists International Auditions.

Pianist George Li, 15, Wins Young Concert Artists International Auditions, November 6 in New York City

Student of Wha-Kyung Byun in NEC Preparatory School and Walnut Hill School, Li Wins Three Years’ Professional Management

Will Perform with NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Dec. 15 in Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with Conductor Benjamin Zander

George Li, the 15-year old piano prodigy from Lexington, won the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Saturday night in New York City.  One of three winners (the others were a violinist and a clarinetist), Li will be awarded three years of professional concert management by YCA. He also won five of the special prizes.  He will perform Monday night (nov. 8) in the Winners’ Concert.  At NEC, he can next be heard as soloist with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, December 15 in Jordan Hall, where he will perform the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with conductor Benjamin Zander.

A student of Wha Kyung Byun, Li is a 10th grader at the Walnut Hill School in Natick where he studies in the NEC at Walnut Hill music program.  He is also coached by Laura Blustein in the chamber music program at the NEC Preparatory School, where he has played for four years with the Vivace Trio.

Li, who in August won the inaugural Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition, joins current NEC college students Charlie Albright, piano, and Narek Haknazaryan, cello, who were YCA winners in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, YCA was founded in 1961 by pianist Susan Wadsworth as a vehicle to discover and develop the careers of extraordinary classical musicians.  Winners of the Auditions are selected by a jury of distinguished musicians.  The sole criteria for winning are exceptional musicianship, virtuosity, and individuality. Auditions organizers stress that musicians compete against a standard of excellence, not each other and that any number of first prize winners—or none—can be selected each year.  YCA’s three-year management services include the booking of concert engagements throughout the United States, publicity and promotional materials, and career guidance at no cost to the artists. Winners are presented at recitals in the Young Concert Artists Series in New York, at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

George Li Biography

George Li, of Lexington, Massachusetts, is a student at the Walnut Hill School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he studies piano with Wha Kyung Byun.

Li has performed publicly since he was 9 years old, gaining attention as a significant recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra. He has appeared at the opening ceremony of Boston’s new Institute of Contemporary Art, at the inauguration of President Tony Woodcock at New England Conservatory, and at Boston’s Steinway Hall. He also played at New York’s Carnegie Hall for the PBS series From the Top, and he has been featured on WBZ-TV’s Liz Walker Show and ABC’s Martha Stewart Show. Li was presented by the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and by the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in solo recitals in March and April 2010, respectively.
As an active chamber musician, Li is the pianist of New England Conservatory’s Vivace Trio. Coached by Laura Blustein of NEC’s Preparatory School, the Trio has performed on From the Top’s radio series and at the Conservatory’s annual gala, Feast of Music. The ensemble also performed for members of the U.S. Congress at the Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Li has performed with many symphony orchestras, including the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Xiamen Philharmonic in China, Symphony Pro Musica, Waltham Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra Sweden, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Lexington Symphony Orchestra. He was invited to perform Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 at Assisi in the World Festival in Italy in May 2010. Li was also invited to perform Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with Arkady Leytush conducting the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra.

At age 6 and again at age 7, Li won first prizes in the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association piano competition. At the age of 9 he won second prizes in both the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and the Cincinnati World Piano Competition. In 2008, at the age of 12, he won second prize in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Junior Artist Competition.  In August 2010, he won the first Thomas and Evon Cooper International Competition in Cleveland, during which he played with members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

For further information, check the NEC Website at: or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122.  NEC’s Jordan Hall, Brown Hall, Williams Hall and the Keller Room are located at 30 Gainsborough St., corner of Huntington Ave. Pierce Hall is located at 241 St. Botolph St. between Gainsborough and Mass Ave.