Yundi Li (or, as the Chinese order his names, Li Yundi) was born on October 7, 1982. At age four he was playing the accordion and by seven was taking piano lessons. His progress was astonishing: in 1995 he won the U.S.-based Stravinsky International Youth Competition. Successes in other competitions followed in the next few years, with a third-place finish in the Liszt International and a first prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. After his Chopin Competition victory in 2000, Li was suddenly in demand. His first recording, an all-Chopin disc on DG, was released in 2002. In 2003 Li made his Carnegie Hall debut to great acclaim, and that same year DG released his second album, an all-Liszt CD, which The New York Times named Best CD of the Year. In 2006 Li relocated to Hong Kong, where he has since lived. His 2007 DG CD of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 and the Ravel G major, with Seiji Ozawa and the Berlin Philharmonic, became a bestseller, making the Classical Billboard chart. The album was cited once more by The New York Times, in this instance as one of the best classical CDs of the year.
Li's other efforts include The Real Great Composers: The Real Purcell (2008) and Liszt: Wild and Crazy (2011).