Troubled prodigy

Updated: 2013-05-09 09:15

(China Daily)

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Troubled prodigy

Li Chuanyun performs at a Beijing concert. China Photo Press

Li Chuanyun is one of China's top violinists, but the 33-year-old battles many demons to play his music. Chen Nan reports.

Li Chuanyun, one of China's foremost violinists, suffers from a severe lack of confidence. A few hours before his performance at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing recently, the violinist locked himself in the washroom for a long time. In a black T-shirt with the words "feel so bad today, don't disturb me" on the back, he smoked and stated: "The T-shirt speaks for me".

It was his 33rd birthday. He played Oh, My Dear Father from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and The Woman Is Fickle from the opera Rigoletto by Verdi. Though audiences were blown away by his dazzling technique and passion, he was unmoved. "Punishment and confession are my birthday gifts," he says.

Days before the show, he was at home, wearing the same T-shirt.

"I often wear this T-shirt because my heart rains a lot," he says while looking at the floor. "I know I am too moody and immature at heart. A tiny little thing will affect me, such as the weather."

Though he is reluctant to speak about his inner struggle, he displays them onstage through his music.

Born into a musical family in the coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong province, Li moved to Hong Kong at age 6. A child prodigy, Li began learning the violin at age 3 and won his first championship at the Beijing Youth and Junior Violin Competition at 5.

He received the top award at the Fifth Wieniawski International Youth Violin Competition at 11, becoming the youngest winner in the competition's history.

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