Li Yundi performs at a New Year's concert in Nanjing, Jan. 18. (Photo/Xinhua)
Young Chinese pianist Li Yundi announced in London on Saturday that his new album would be released on Feb. 25, the day of his first concert of a European tour.
The new album, Emperor I Fantasy, includes Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) and Schumann's Fantasie in C. It is his second recording with conductor Daniel Harding and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Li will play these works as well as traditional Chinese pieces on a European tour that will take in 25 cities from February to April, including St Petersburg, Warsaw and Prague. The first concert will be hold at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Feb. 25.
"The Emperor Concerto is one of my favorite compositions, which not only expresses Beethoven's uniqueness and confidence but is also filled with romanticism," said the pianist.
Known as the "prince of piano" in China, Li said the core of his new album is to tell people that "everybody has an emperor inside themselves. To become one, people have to face challenges, make progress and break through barriers. One day, they will become their own emperor."
He added, "Playing the Beethoven concerto is a breakthrough for me. I hope I can achieve more and perfect my musical skills to become my own emperor. I hope I can bring more beautiful music to people in the future."
The young pianist rose to prominence after he took first place at the 14th International Chopin Competition in 2000 at the age of 18, making him both the youngest pianist and the first from China to win.