Readers who have not been following the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow should know that this grueling and highly competitive event is held once every four years and is sometimes referred to as the ‘musical Olympics.’ It was in the first Tchaikovsky Competition, back in 1958, that Van Cliburn vaulted onto the international stage. Pianists, violinists, cellists, and vocalists have been competing for about the last ten days.
After a staggering amount of consistently high-caliber music-making during an audition phase, a Round I phase [50-minute solo recital], a Round II, Stage I phase [another, completely different, hour-long solo recital], and a Round II, Stage II phase [Mozart concerto with chamber orchestra], the initial field of 55 accomplished pianists from around the world has been narrowed to six finalists. And our own George Li, from Lexington and now studying in the Harvard-NEC dual-degree program, is one of those finalists!
This competition is being broadcast live online in a surprisingly high-quality production by Medici TV. George’s performance in the finals is tomorrow, 28 June, at approximately 12.45 p.m. EDT. He’ll be performing not one, but two massive Romantic piano concertos, the Tchaikovsky No. 1 and the Prokofiev No. 3. A link to the live online broadcast is here, and Li’s website is here.