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Trending…. Yundi overtakes Lang Lang on Chinese social media

When millions straggled back to work in China after the New Year festival, they found that the natural order had been overturned and Lang Lang was no longer the most famous pianist on the planet. He had been overtaken on Weibo – Chinese twitter – by arch-rival Yundi Li, though not necessarily for the highest musical reasons. Our China correspondent Rudolph Tang reports:


War of terror in Chinese social media 

by Rudolph Tang

Millions of fans of Chinese pianist and entertainer Yundi are waging war on major Chinese social media against everyone with a different opinion of their icon. Attacked are dozens of music critics, newspapers, film makers, journalists, novelists and editors, even compatriots like Lang Lang and Sa Chen. One senior culture editor from the government-owned Beijing Daily received death threats this week from a Yundi fan after the Daily published a thorough investigation of Yundi’s growing profile in the entertainment sector. The editor alerted the police.

Yundi is increasingly criticised in China for his controversial piano playing, alleged involvement in sexual scandals and a lack of artistic character. Fans believe the criticism is being manipulated by rival pianists or agents. Hence the mounting war.

On the personal front, Yundi was divorced in November 2012 from his politically powerful wife. He has since become friendly with a male pop singer from Hong Kong named Lee-Hom. The fuse was lit up when Yundi and Lang Lang both appeared on the same magician’s show on Chinese New Year Eve on China Central Television Channel One.

Yundi was playing a baby grand behind a white screen. He stopped playing and stretched out his head looking around. The magician asked what he was looking for. Yundi murmured into the magician’s ear. The magician said “Oh, you are looking for Lee-Hom.” Then the screen was dropped and Yundi disappeared from the stage. He was found sitting in the auditorium. That fragment, viewed as a major scandal, was removed from re-broadcasts. Lang Lang, an hour later, accompanied some dancers from the keyboard an hour later, without incident. Here’s the Yundi footage:

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  1. Well… I would like to add some more info to Rudolph Tang’s report: 1. I doubt there really are “millions of fans” of Yundi active on social medias, instead there are trolls that can be purchased in large quantity in China’s entertainment business. 2. Almost all the “news” and debates of Yundi and Leehom Wang came out after Yundi hired a new manager, maybe together with a new PR team. And it is Yundi himself keep broadcasting such kind of info(sometimes through his own Sina weibo account), including playing in Wang’s live, posting the photo of visiting Wang’s home with family, he even played Wang’s songs (re-arranged) in his own recital (In stadiums! With rose petals falling from the ceiling during that piece!) 3. After the China Central TV Chinese New Year Gala, the magician’s manager confirmed the idea of mentioning Wang is from Yundi’s side, then Yundi’s manager denied.

    • With the intention of introducing classical music to more young people, Yundi gave a New Year concert in Beijing Workers Stadium on December 31, 2012. It is a concert of classical music with some modern stage effects and several popular elements such as playing Edelweiss. As a bonus of this concert, Yundi sang a song by Leehom Wang. The name of the song is Luo Ye Gui Gen (落叶归根),which literally means “The fallen leaves come to the root of the tree”, and the concept of this song is nostalgia homesickness. This song is popular among young people and in an online communication with his fans before the concert, Yundi was requested by them to sing it in the concert. Rose pedals falling from above during this song is a stage effect desinged by the director of this concert, whose name is Jiang Jiang (姜江). The pedals were used to replace fallen leaves. The tabloids exaggerated wantonly on this and even cooked up a romantic story between Yundi and the singer, which disturbs them both. It must be said that the media ecology of China today is very unhealthy and the media is totally money oriented and can fabricate any ridiculous story as long as it sells.

      • Alice Change says:

        Dear Carol, do you believe what you just said?

        When his romantic rumors (with a guy singer) were spreading everywhere like virus, Yundi made no effort to clarify but intentionally exaggerate them:

        He posted photos of them together, he told fans they celebrated special events together (e.g., thanksgiving). When being asked to clarify, he told the press he “doesn’t really have a sexual orientation”, which should be developed “in a natural way”, and “as for now we are good friends” (REF: Southern Metropolis Weekly. Yundi said: “He is my friend, my sexual orientation will go in a natural way.” Dec 2012. China)

        With all hints as such, the rumor reached its peak by the end of 2012, when Yundi sang a love song of his rumored boyfriend in his new year concerto. To enhance a romantic atmosphere, photos of them together were projected onto the big stadium screen, rose petals slowly fell on his piano as he sang. 2 days later the pop singer denied their affair with great anger, which initiated this war.

        Don’t tell me the petals were used to replace fallen leaves. With the song, the photos, the petals and the interview, there is no excuse.

        In this way Yundi attracted several doze thousands of fans, because the romantic story between 2 handsome men is popular among girls in Asian. Their hearts broke for Yundi’s “lost” of his “love”, so they came to support him, which is really funny. A pianist can be loved because of his/her performance, good looking, personality, etc, but Yundi is perhaps the first one to gain enormous popularity by faking a man-to-man romance. Countless evidence shows he is straight. Yundi’s rumored singer friend was attacked because he stated they are only friends, sarcastically, 30 days later, Yundi’s fans began to repeat the same clarification to the public. By the way, the singer was so angry that he removed Yundi from his microblog’s friends list.

        • Ah how I would love to “like” this reply! There is a question from the beginning: why a piano recital needs a director?

          • Because Beijing Workers Stadium is not a musical theatre. It was used for sport competitions like football in 2008 Olympics. It’s Yundi ‘s first attempt to open a piano recital in such a big stadium which can occupy 80000 persons.

        • “He posted photos of them together, he told fans they celebrated special events together (e.g., thanksgiving). ”

          That guy went to Yundi’s home during Thanksgiving.
          That guy was born in US and grew up there. So he should understand what Thanksgiving means.

          (By the way, Yundi is a Chinese. I am also a Chinese. Before I came to US, I knew very little about Thanksgiving. “hum, a festival for turkey? nice!” That’s all what I could expect at that time.)

          Tell others the full story please.
          Thank you.

      • Yundi’ story is on the Chinese textbook for over ten years. His CDs, recitals and concerts are on the top of Chinese classic music sales rankings for all these years. Audiences crashed down the ticket-selling server to try to get a good seat, and bought standing ticket to listen to his performance. At the meantime, he keeps in low key.

        But to introduce classic music to the young generation, Yundi’re using his influence to the young people in these two years. The consequences is millions young people really start to listen to the classic music. They’re still quite puerile now, but sooner or later, they’ll grow up and maybe they will keep classic music as a important part of their life.

        Unfortunately, the young generation start from following with Yundi. And of course, someone else won’t happy for it. Who moved my cheese?

        • Can’t agree more.

          People are fighting for Yundi because he did so many good things not for himself, but for the introduction of classical music into young generations.

          People love him because his good deeds.

          Then, someone got jealous because of Yundi’s social status and his achievements, and then, bogus reports with no evidence come out.

          That’s why people got so angry.

          • Indeed agree with this comment!

            Nowaday, media is crazy, and bad news spread like disease. People tend to exaggerate unimportant rumor than focus on what Yundi has really done. Regardless of the news, Yundi is not doubt one of the best pianist, and he does not need any popularity in un-reputated manner.

    • 1.Just one hour after the China CCTV Spring Festival Gala was finished, the CCTV director and official weibo both announced the idea was came from magician himself.

      2.Dozens of media and newspaper threw out the same press release with same title within one hour. The quickest one is less than 20 minus! All of them followed with the magician’s manager’s opinion and unwarranted charges on Yundi. The magician’s PR manger Ms.Pu thanked an editor for her newspaper released the news so quickly. Did you ever doubt these reports? Hand-writing’ support activity shows general people don’t believe these reports and choose to believe in Yundi.

      3.”after Yundi hired a new manager”? When and where and who? For the rumor, Yundi’s group only response for once time. They said: Anyone spread rumor again, see you in court.

      4.Did you ever do anything good for your friends? Sing a song for them, go home for a dinner, hang out to have a beer or a movie? If the paparazzo write a story about your affair based on that, what’s your feeling?

      5.Over 400 fans asked Yundi to sing the song in the internet interview, the posts are still there. And not only rose petal, there were fallen leaves and snows. And not only one encore song, he also sang with Chinese famous singer Tanjing on the stage. So based on the paparazzo’s theory, what Tanjing should be?

      6.He need a director! It’s the first time he had a recital in a stadium and he got no experience for that. To introduce classic music to young generation, you must make the stage specially attractive to young people’s eye.

      • Agree, so many news reports lately on the New Year’s show. Yundi does not need to gain popularity in this manner, in fact, rumors like this probably worsen his image. So, definitely does not seem like planned by his team.

  2. And here is an unofficial recording of Yundi playing Beethoven concerto No.1 with China Philharmonic under Maestro Long Yu in Dec 2011. When China Phil released their 100 CDs live recording box set in 2012, this concert is NOT included. After this concert, the critics and debates around him became more and more intense.

    • Cathy Jiang says:

      And here’s another ‘interesting’ recording, La Campanella performed by Yundi on December 21, 2012, in the city Nanning.

      • well, as long as YunDi is considered as a pianist, I think we should judge him solely based on his performce, not the gay gossip or his personal life. However, I hope he could practice a little bit more than just couple days to try Beethoven. Please do try the video above, Sir, and I think you will understand how bad it could be. Thanks for your time.

      • Audience at the Nanning performance was actually quite disturbing. People chatting, kids crying, and they always applaused at the wrong time. All this would affected Yundi’s performance.

    • Before the 100 CDs box set was released, Mr.Liu Da, Head Producer of the recording label DR-Classics, told privately that the reason why Yundi’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 was excluded from the set is that the errors of Yundi’s playing is too much that the the recording is literally “beyond fixing”.

      • Matinna says:

        Where is the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 performanced by CPO and Yundi in 2011? Chinese National Centre for the Performing Arts put the concert live online. Why the 100 cds doesn’t include this one? “Beyond fixing”? What’s a JOKE.

    • In Dec. 2011, Yundi played Beethoven concerto No.1 for three times. The first one was in Beijing, then in Shanghai and in Guangzhou.
      The concert in Shanghai and Guangzhou got good feedback. Why they don’t upload all the private and secret records together? Is there any copyright issue? But why the record of Beijing concert can be uploaded?
      BTW, there is no reason to stick on one performance for two years.

  3. The situation is not like what Mr. Tang said. There were some strange rumours of Yundi and his friend last year. Yundi clarified the facts on his micro-blog. However, the Beijing Daily reported and spreaded those rumours. Yundi Music made an official statement to condemn all sorts of slander about Yundi several days ago. Link of the statement:

    • Agree with what you just said.

      Yundi is supported because someone has been attacking him right after his coming back from Germany, especially in 2007 and 2008. This year, the same situation happened, and many press are obviously directed by Yundi’s competitors, because those reports are obviously far from the truth that everybody can see in China. That’s why people get angry and fight back, not just for supporting a great pianist but for the reclaim of justice.

      Btw, as a native Chinese, I can tell you that the press in mainland China are far from being professional than their peers in western countries. Almost all people know that many reporters in China can be bought by money to write reports. This time, those bogus claims attacking Yundi aroused public indignation in China. Therefore, people are supporting Yundi.

      Some reporters are trying to turn this supportive movement into something against Yundi. As a native Chinese who has been watching Yundi growing all these years, I ask you all to believe in him.

  4. OK, I respect everyone’s opinion. However, this report does not make sense at all. All of these in the report are already proved to be rumors. Please make the appropriate arrangements.

    First of all, Yundi Li is a no way an entertainer. He said in multiple interviews for a couple of times that he had/has no intention to enter the entertainment world. He is a pianist. And he will ONLY be a pianist.

    Second of all, to all the Chinese classical fans, Yundi Li’s piano playing and music is very well appreciated. His albums have been in the top 10 in under the overall music bestsellers for about two months now. His concertos’ tickets are sold out way before the actual date. So don’t be fooled by some critics. The market can speak for itself.

    Third of all, Yundi Li has never married. He is still SINGLE, which is proved by people who are working in the Marriage Department of China.

    Fourth of all, Yundi Li has only made friends with Lee-Hom Wang with no other intentions.

    Fifth of all, during the performance in the Spring Gala, Yundi Li has no script at that particular part. He did not need to say anything. And from the clip, you can see that he actually did not say anything. So please clarify that. Also, the reason of the remove from the re-broadcasts was because this part was totally improvised, while the Gala required everything to be proved before use. The Gala official Chinese twitter also posted a statement right after the gala. Please be honest!

    Finally, Yundi Li is a well renowned pianist from China. He deserves our respect and love. Please clarify all these rumors. Thank you!

    • The hostility of Lang Lang towards Yundi Li is well documented on this site. See most recently here:

      This present report is by Rudolph Tang, a professional journalist, working from published sources. We have asked him to look at these comments and respond.

      • Thank you for your response. I appreciate your time to listen to different opinions. We all very respect you and we all read your music critiques. Just to add a few other things.

        First of all, the hostility of Pianists Lang Lang and Yundi Li is a well published news in China last year. People who care about the classical music know that Yundi rejoined DG last year. The signing ceremony was held in Beijing last year.

        Second of all, what all these comments try to say is that Yundi Li is a well respected pianist with very positive influence to the young generation. Because of the appreciation to Pianist Yundi, a lot of young people start to listen to classical music and try to understand it. Yundi’s CDs are sold out everywhere in China. The biggest social website in China has explicitly supported Pianist Yundi because of his talents and personalities. Among all of the supporters, a lot of them are very well educated.

        Above all, just to represent myself and my friends, we highly appreciate everybody’s praise and critics to Pianist Yundi Li as long as they TRUE.

        Thank you again for your time.

        • Rudolph Tang says:

          My informant declined to be identified as source of Yundi’s marital status.
          The other issues are irrelevant to my report and deserve no explanation from me.

          • Shame on you!Tang Ruofu .This is your trap!

            You posted this unidentified and distorted article on Norman‘s Blog and then tell Chinese Media “Hey,Yundi is criticized by the famous musical critic!”

            The media published this article in Chinese with the name of Norman and mislead the readers.

            That’s a new method to attack Yundi? How ridiculous!

          • Rudolph Tang says:

            I’m only responsible for what I say not for what you understand.

      • Rudolph Tang says:

        Yundi’s marital status is confirmed by one of his former agents who no longer works in the music industry.

        • Mr. Tang, So that’s your respond ? Don’t make me laugh. What about other rumors you wrote in the report ?What about the relationship between you and those stalkers, such as Yao xu? Come on, be honest and professional!

        • Mr. Tang,

          If you have the actual evidence, please show it off. I already said that Yundi’s marital status was confirmed as SINGLE by the governmental employee, which has WAY MORE credibility than “former agents who no longer work in the music industry”.

          Also, please look at my other points and give explanation.


      • Thank you Norman, for your support for Yundi and for justice!

      • Irene Lynn says:

        Sorry, there were some typos in the previous respond.

        Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

        Just so you know that your blog has AGAIN been distorted by a Chinese media, claiming “a famous British critic blames Yundi Li for engaging in excessive commercial promotion which helps him to beat Lang Lang in China’s market”. The first paragraph of the article simply put Mr. Rudolf Tang’s words against Yundi into your mouth. (

        I can’t understand why some Chinese medias and “critics” hate Yundi so much that they would go awry from their professional standards without hesitation. Yet one thing I can foresee is that, if anyone who knows and supports Yundi would dare to question an absurd media report like this one, no matter how polite and sensible the question is, the one who raise it would be immediately labeled as a “terrorist” as Mr. Tang claimed. What a shame!

        Sincerely Yours,


      • Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

        Your comments on Yundi Li were distorted by some Chinese media to attack him. Please see an example here Please help Yundi. Thanks!

        Sincerely yours,


  5. Thanks for your concern on Yundi, however, there are some mistakes in this report and maybe I can make it clear.

    At first, Yundi’s fans never attack Chinese social media for not accepting different opinons about thier icon. Beijing Daily recently has published a report on Yundi but this report is full of false information which may bring bad influence on Yundi’s reputation. Yundi’s fans think this report is not fair and hope the reporter can make an apologise in order to protect Yundi’s reputation. The news that the editor of Beijing Daily recieved a death threat from Yundi’s fans is uncertain. No one konws it is true or not. And many people find that the reporter of this unfair report is close related with Langlang. Every report on Langlang is exaggeratedly positive and of course almost every report on Yundi is malicious. So this reporter is suspected of being a kind of hack writer of Langlang.

    At second Yundi is never being married let alone divorced with so-called politically powered wife. This is totally false news and also this kind of rumor including sextual scandle is suspected of being produced by his rival’s team. Even in Chinese twitter, weibo, there is a group of people. It is like their meaning of existence is to attack Yundi by spreading rumor sometimes even personal abuse. And these people all have close relation with some panists. In order to protect Yundi’s reputation, Yundi’s fans need to keep on clarifing those rumor, however their working is being malicious defined as harassment by that group and they even call Yundi’s fans as internet mob.

    Acttually all of this dispute come from Yundi’s program in Chinese Spring Festival Gala. You may know that in 2012 Yundi was being friendly with a pop singer in Taiwan named Lee-hom. However some people and media misunderstood thier friendship as a kind of bromance. Actually Yundi was really not willing to be invoved into this kind of scandle. However during the program of Yundi in Chinese Spring Festival Gala, the magician, Yundi’s partner suddenly said ” You are looking for Lee-hom” without asking for Yundi’s permission. What’s worse, after the performance, the magician lied to pubilc that this line was a suggestion by Yundi’s team so Yundi was being critised for hyping by using his bromance sacndle. Fortunately CCTV then made an announcemet that this”looking for Lee-hom” line was totally the magician’s improv and then Yundi also clarified that he never suggested this” Lee-hom” line.

    Actually most of people choose to belive in Yundi because Yundi is always honest and low-pitched and there is no need for him to hype in order to gain fame. He is already an excellent and modest artist and many people are proud of him because his achivement. In the larggest Chinses bbs Tianya, netizens even post their handwrite note in order to support Yundi. And also Yundi is going to perform in the coming Lantern Festival Gala in Great Hall of the People for leaders of CCCP.

    That is all I know about recent news of Yundi. Agian thanks for your concern for Yundi. He is really popular in China and many young people like him a lot not only because of his virtuosity in piano playing but also because of his mild and modest character. Even talking to his rival, he is very friendly. He hopes to make classical music in a high penetration in China and he is keep on wroking for this purpose. That is why sometimes he choose to cooperate with pop star. Never for improve his own fame but to make classical musics more poplular especially among young people. I really admire him an hope he can realize his dream.

  6. I think you should get the related information from web site, because some or most Chinese media could be not believed, they are doubted have been brought off buy the magician. So some people who are not Yundi’s fans write many words by hands and post to the internet to represent their opinions , they think the medias rape of public opinion. This activity is going on the biggest BBS web in China—tianya. And then they also made this words as a video.

    this is the video’s link:

  7. I was shocked when I saw this blog from Rudolph Tang. It’s not the story I known.

    “Crazy fans” is a useful psychological hint to make each word from fans as a lie. I’m a music fan, hope not that crazy.

    1.A misleading reports was published on Beijing daily newspaper. There’re three mainly paragraphs in that report. One paragraph was was plagiarized from another newspaper. The reporter changed the name of protagonist, then grafted it to Yundi. In another paragraph, the reporter even didn’t know that Yundi has an agency company-AH and thought that he has no contract, and based on that, deduced that he has quite few oversea performances. That’s why the fans protest against the report recently. The senior culture editor of Beijing daily newspaper didn’t alert the police, he already admitted these two serious mistakes in the report on his weibo (Chinese facebook). BTW, this reporter always writes good reports for Langlang, never makes any mistakes.

    2.There is one 25 years old critic, who is a close friend of Sa Chen, is keeping giving impolite critics to Yundi’s playing and private life for years.

    3.Yundi is still single, he never got married.

    4.New Year Eve TV program is just for fun, Yundi played a poker magic on the stage, which he thought as a part of ‘finger art’. And the unrefined joke made by the magician was confirmed as magician’s own idea by the program director.

    This is my version, totally different as the version of Mr. Tang’s. What an amazing world.

  8. eggfriedrice says:

    I can’t believe this!!! This is definitely one of the most inauthenticity reports I’ve ever read.

    Mr. Lebrecht, the ” thorough investigation of Yundi’s growing profile in the entertainment sector” as you recall so, is not thorough at all. On the contrary, if you really look into the comments of that report on weibo, you’ll find all kinds of protest against it. And many of them are not Yundi” fans, they are just normal people. The report is full of lies, it fabricates facts and the journalist Hongyan Li herself , somehow mentioned Lang Lang in a subtle way. The netizens soon dig out that Miss Li has written many other articles about Lang Lang’s achievements, and what’s more, Lang Lang has long been criticized for bring shame on Yundi Li. Zheng Huang, the manager of “the music world of Lang Lang”, has mocked and slandered Yundi last year. Lang Lang’s cousin, Emma Cheung, irrationally laugh and criticize Yundi, you can’t just believe that those vicious words come from a young girl. Why so much hatred? As for those so called “music critics”, whose critics are like “Lang Lang is the best pianist of our time”(here is the link, this is the time to hit Yundi down too.

    I don’t know if there is a “death threat” exist, and that’s true, I feel sorry for that he suffered. But this editor has indeed showed his despise and arrogance on the issue and the article on Beijing Daily reports is far from the truth. Normal people has united to show their support to Yundi, they are not fans, and many of them has never hear Yundi’s music systematically before. They are just revolted at how the press confuse right and wrong, and showed no shame and apology for thier fault. People don’t want to be fooled. Courageous words to Yundi from from different people could be found here (people also made videos to support Yundi and speak for themselves), here is the link : As for Lang Lang, you can find every evidence he has done to discredit Yundi here:

    Actually, I don’t want the rest of the world to know that the Chinese classical music area is just dark and filthy. However this does exit. We have some world-renowned pianists, which is a good thing, and we all want them achieve something. But we cannot tolerate lies and manipulation. I can guarantee you that I am responsible for every word I said here. Mr. Lebrecht, please also do a “thorough ” research next time.

  9. Please check out this video. Thousands of Chinese people wrote down their heart- warm messages to support Mr. Yundi Li.

  10. I am a victim of those crazy fans…. they bombed my weibo for just one of my tweets which has Yundi’s name in it….

    • eggfriedrice says:

      Actually those signs and videos are not from fans, they come from average people who feel angry about the distorted report and the slander on Yundi. Yundi’s real fans are afraid of to be called ‘brain-damaged” fans so most of them just keep silent this time. It’s the people who think this is not right and stand out for justice. Sorry if you feel bothered, but I think you should get to know the facts before you speak. Thank you.

  11. Just a little suggestion, before you put an article which has a very strong slant on you website, you should at least do some investigations about the truth. Would millions people against social media such as your correspondent Tang for no reason?
    If you say it’s because about the Chinese twitter, Yundi Li has more followers, then you should look at Lang Lang’s Chinese twitter, he has double amount fans of Yundi. Why wouldn’t they speak for Lang Lang instead of Yundi?
    Read your correspondent’s report and then google all the things he said, you will understand.

  12. Mr. Tang, from your article I can only assume that you are too young, too simple, sometimes naive!
    Attacked are dozens of music critics, newspapers…. Come on, be honest! These people are attacking Yundi LI effortlessly, some famous cirtics even spatter him with slanders since 2007, and most instereting, these people were found to be closely connected with Sa Chen and her husband; further, the said senior culture editor from the government-owned Beijing Daily who is threated by a fan admits that his collegue did write the incorrect report about Yundi, but he declared that those they’ve made mistakes, they will not appologize.
    This is the cause of the “war on major Chinese social media” since netizens found that a lot of social media were disparaging Yundi while boosting Lang Lang of his achievements like what you did. With repect to the magician, who sends press releases everyday since the Gala, and the press releases are sent to more than 200 media and presses with different contents.
    Besides, have you ever met Yundi’s wife? On what basis can you declare that his has divorced, since he has claimed that he is single. Netizens lauched an event of supporting Yundi because they trust their own judgements, not what they hear or see.
    Please seek truth from facts!

  13. Dear professor Norman, I just want to say that believe youself and believe Yundi, that’s enough.Music is full of power and music can reflect a person’s characteristics. In our China, amout of web-pals believe in Yundi.He is a talent pianist.And the “death threats from Yundi’s fan” is feigned.The “politically powerful wife” was also feigned. As for Leehom, they are friends before.People’s discussion let they become a gossip. The magician’s words wasn’t discussed with Yundi before the performance show on.It meant that Yundi didn’t konw the dialogue the magician would say on the stage.Besides, the cover on the top of this report is not ture. The cover of “ART OF YUNDI” is not be overt by DG. I am confused and shamed that some chinese say something feigned about Yundi nowaday.Maybe they are envious about his achivements. All in all,I want to say the sentence again. Believe yourself and believe Yundi, that’s engouh.Thanks.

  14. Irene Lynn says:

    This article is full of ungrounded rumors and intentional distortions of facts. For years there have been numerous ridiculous stories about Yundi, including a “politically powerful wife”, “secret marriages” and “divorces”–once per year–on top of all the other baleful attacks “questioning” his degree from Hannover and even his Chopin medal. I doubt any professional reporter would choose to believe these rumors without a much more careful thought. BTW, anyone with a musical ear would have known better than to describe Yundi Li as an “entertainer”. Thanks.

  15. Fiona Tang says:

    Yundi is not the person just as you describe. He is one of the greatest pianists in the world, and so is Lang Lang. Yundi is warm-hearted, and he always take part in the charity activities, helps many children. He and Lee-Hom are just good friends, and have a good time on the music. They both like the music. The fans support the Yundi’s music, and they respect Yundi, and just like respect other people. The fans just point out some media make some wrong and untruth news about Yundi.

    • Mr. Lebrecht just reprinted the article written by Mr. Tang and gave no biased comment on this event. He cares about Chinese pianists. Relax a little!

      • Fiona Tang says:

        Well, I know the article is written by Mr.Tang. I am not supposed to offend Mr. Lebrecht. He is a great cultural commentator. Say thanks to him for supporting Yundi.

  16. Without surprise, Norman’s post is criticized by thousands of Yundi’s angry fans on Weibo. They argued that Norman is is just a personal blogger, not even a music critic, and such a blog has no credibility at all.
    There are also some minor mistakes in Rodolph’s article, for example Leehom is Taiwanese, and Lang Lang was not on the magician’s show. But the article generally described what is happening right now, that Yundi’s fans are acting like a terrorist group, and they may need babysitters.

    • Charlene love kiwi says:

      Come on, be honest! They just criticize the so-called Chinese crtics quote this report and claim it as a foreign report ,which is actually written by a Chinese journalist. Don’t make mischief! It is shameful enough that all of you do it in China!

    • Sweets LiLy says:

      Enough! 霄汉居士,Are you here to show your darkness and shame our chinese people?

      You are the main forces in weibo spreading rumors of Yundi.

      And when this article was published, you gave the abstract”On the personal front, Yundi was divorced in November 2012 from his politically powerful wife” at the first time in your SINA micro-blog and gave misleading comments!

      You said you are music critics.You known this website and it’s level but some new fans of YUNDI didn’t know these. So you use the information asymmetry to stir up YUNDI’s fans.
      You said they didn’t know the credibility BUT you didn’t mention that Yundi’s Fans has known the credibility now!

      We respect Mr.Norman but we still have to point the untruth.Thank you Norman for your respond and hope you can get the truth by yourself!

    • Hi Norman;
      You might find for yourself that the fans of Yundi are here to discuss the credibility of this report written by Rudolph Tang and clarify the gay gossip and the rumors on his marital status; I would say blog is an open place for readers’ brainstorm but again this brainstorm is distorted by Yao Xu as the “attack” and Yao Xu even slanders music fans who support Yundi as the ” terrorist group” just like what he does in Weibo, newspaper etc and he has been anti-Yundi for years since he is bribed to do so.
      You might be also wondering why so many readers are attracted to this report; someone named 霄汉居士(the Sina Weibo name of Yao Xu) @ your sina weibo(NormanLebrecht) and was trying to lure fans of Yundi “attack” it by saying “can’t wait to see Yundi’s fans bloodly assault Norman’s blog” (我倒是非常期待云粉去血洗大嘴诺的博客呢 from Yao Xu’s weibo);
      Now he is here and trying to get your support of him, what an amazing world! LOL

  17. All right even as a fan of Lang Lang I have to say that this article is misleading and distorted some of the facts. What the article want to imply only makes the writer look philistine.

    it should be known that it is the fans other than Yundi that having the conflict with the so-called “music critics”. And actually, the words which music critics posted on the internet is no better than what the fury Yundi fans did.

    Also, divorcing and friendship with a male are just personal affairs. Regarding them as “sexual scandal” can only reveal the writer’s limited thought as well as being suburban, let along political incorrect.

  18. Hello, Mr. Norman!
    I have always appreciated your views about classical music. But this time, part of the post about Yundi looks like fabrication to me.
    As far as I know, Yundi was never married. And I feel sorry about the incident on the Chinese Spring Festival Eve. I think passion for their icon can’t explain why so many people are against the social media. Before jumping to this conclusion, it is always wise to investigate the truth behind it.

  19. It seems that rumours has been spreaded over sea. However I don’t thing what Mr. Tang wrote is the fact. Apparently he has made a lot of basic mistakes about the people who is involved in this article,and all the things he said have been proved that are totally wrong by lots of Chinese social media.
    Someone has just repo this blog to weibo, the Chinese twitter, and said something very bad, try to start the war between those people who supported Yundi and music novelists like you.
    Now there are lots of people pretend that they are Yundi Li’s followers and abuse people everywhere, try to destory his reputation and affect his tour in the next month. I really hope that they won’t come to your blog and said something rude.
    Anyway, we like Yundi LI, not because of his image, and definitely not his gossip. We support him because he is a man of Righteousness, although he is not the best pianist, but he try his best to popularize classic music in the new generation in China.
    Alot people have worte the notes to support pianist Yundi cause they want the fair report of Yundi from the social media, because he is not the first or the only musician who has been treated in a unjust way.
    here is a video about the notes people wrote:
    You could find someone who knows Chinese help to translate it.
    We are not terrorist as Mr. Tang described, but they are the really person who start the war of terror to musicians.

  20. Oops sorry didn’t realize it was written by Mr Tang. That makes more sense. Sorry for over reacting, have been overwhelmed by too many misleading news these days. My apology for my previous comments being so harsh!

  21. Yekaterina Lee says:

    Hi Norman,

    Just want add some info. For many long-time classical music lovers in China, the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 Yundi played with China Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yu Long late in 2011 was the point they felt Yundi played no longer as a professional pianist. Especially when people saw his weibo several days later, saying that was his tenth day of learning the piece and he would play it the second time on the 11th day with a picture of his score–an Edition Peters one–not an urtext one! It’s even rumored around that recording of the performance was planed to be included in the CPO 100CD box (which Rudolph reported here some time ago), but it was given up when engineers found it way too much work to fix it. However, a bootleg recording was made and you can find it on YouTube ( It’s just hard to believe that many of his fans blamed everyone who criticized on this as “being manipulated by rival pianists or agents”.

    After that, people hoped the failure on Beethoven PC1 would make Yundi to be more focus on his music making. Instead, what they found are the following:

    1. Yundi in a talk show, when asked if he had studied any his compatriot’s posture (with no name mentioned by the hosts), he played as you can see and asked audience to “guess” which one this was (Lang Lang as you may gussed).

    2. Yudi playing La Campanella

    3. Yundi playing Chopin op. 53

    Then came his “sexual scandals” occupied the headline for almost one year. It gave people the impression that his PR was trying to promote him regardless of what is proper for a serious artist. And Yundi himself seemed enjoy it. All these “promotions” increased his popularity and lead those “fans” who attacked everyone everywhere. Some one pointed out this is similar to the promotion of pop singers, which I have no idea. But for me, it’s not important. The lack of artistic quality in his playing means it all. And you too could get the idea of how a pianist he is now by listening to these samples.

    • Charlene love kiwi says:

      As a new fan, I know that he changed the music because of the wound of his hand. How could you ignore it and post the video? So many gossips and so- called crtics have been clarified in China, so do you want to blacken him again in the world taking advantage of asymmetric information? Some of the critics both critic his music and make personal attacks, I really doubt so-called criticisms of them. But you have ignore a fact- the fans are not interested in them now. They just forward and make so-called critiques in their own circle. What a pity! Tell a real experience of myself. When I started my Weibo, I add a critique and talked about Yundi. He has a totally different viewpoint from me in his music, then I accepted it and expected some knowledges of music . But later on, when I argued with him, his friends jumped out and blamed me unfriendly and I saw a lot of malicious taut and slanders on their homepages, sometimes they even @Yundi. That was the reason why I felt disgusting and fed up with them!

      • Yekaterina Lee says:

        Bad technique caused by wound could be excused. But do you expect to explain this kind of lacking of taste by “wound of hand”? Interesting.

        And to Norman, in case you cannot get access to the videos on Chinese “YouTube”-like sites, here’s the link for Yundi playing La Campanella on YouTube ( and also the Chopin op. 53 (

        Maybe they’re just his bad days, still, he could chose to quit rather than giving such terrible performances. And for the case with Beethoven PC1, I’m really interested in what kind of excuses Yundi’s fans would create for him. I simply don’t think he behaved like a professional pianist in this case. It was a concert of China Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2011-12 season. The info was released long before the opening of the season, which means Yundi had at least three months (the season begins at about September every year, and the concert with Yundi was in December 2011) to prepare. Hence, I find no reason why his preparation ended to be fewer than 10 days. A scandal indeed!

    • Edition Peters is one of the publishers of Urtext (it’s a type edition, not a publisher) score. I believe one of the jokes was that how he was showing off his “expensive” score, formidable learning speed (“The Prince” said it took him 10 days but he had mentioned he was learning the concerto several months ago), then finishing the tweet with something like “heart Beethoven!” , right after a disastrous performance.

    • 1. Criticism of Lang Lang’s mannerisms are not unfounded, as the New York Times notes:
      “These days Mr. Lang has a horde of publicists to create the image of a polished, worldly genius. But not every music critic has swooned over his performances. John von Rhein, music critic for The Chicago Tribune, described one performance as ”unacceptably willful.” He loved ”strutting his stuff,” Mr. von Rhein wrote. Anthony Tommasini, chief music critic of The New York Times, found his exuberance in both performance and body posture exaggerated and tasteless. Earl Wild, the American pianist, in a New Yorker interview, was dismissive of all the publicity and called Mr. Lang ”the J.Lo of the piano.”

      But even his harshest critics agree that Mr. Lang possesses enormous musical talent, with the potential to grow and mature as artist. ”I make all of my own decisions now,” he said. ”I make my own decisions when I play the piano. I make my own decisions when I interact with people.”

      It is natural that musical rivals criticize each other, and this does not have any bearing on either artist’s artistic merit. Rubinstein, who was jealous of Horowitz’s technique, claimed nevertheless that while Horowitz was the better pianist, he was the finer musician. Both pianists, of course, are still considered to be among the greatest of the 20th century. Yundi’s imitation of Lang Lang, while not necessarily tasteful, has no place in a discussion of his artistic skill and pianistic ability.

      2/3. One performance does not seal any musician’s fate. Let us not forget Horowitz’s disastrous Japan tour in 1983. Despite this video (and the others from the tour), Horowitz is still one of the world’s most beloved pianists:
      There are several better renditions of this polonaise, but yet few who would be judged to be better pianists overall. In the same way that we do not judge Horowitz on one tour, we judge neither Yundi or Lang Lang to be magnificent/terrible pianists based off of a few clips. Wrong notes are not desired today, but are plentiful even in the recordings of the greatest pianists a century ago.

  22. Based on what I’ve seen and observed, I just think the magician was too rude as he mentioned the controversial scandal on that official stage. Yundi is being polite and disciplined throughout this difficult time; he is seeking for the legal approah while the magician is hiring public relations firms. Moreover, he has no reason to ruin his reputation just for the sake of being more famous than others as we know he has already made his name worldwide and lived a good life. I can’t figure out why audience on Yundi’s side are cited as internet fake supporters by the media. This is not fair. Media shall investigate before publish!

  23. Saturdaystillwork says:

    Hello,you must be surprised to see so much commens from chinese people tomorrow morning. That’s because some girl named “Flying cat”, who is well-known for spending all her internet life on anti-Yundi, posted this article’s website on “WeiBo”(chinese twitter). The situation is complicated recently. I don’t think I can explain this cleary. For one thing, most internet users (like me) in china choose to believe Yundi, but they found their surporting comments was cited by some media such as Beigjing Ribao(the reportor Li), but was faked as words anti Yundi. The people are furious for distorting public opinion and publishing false information. The whole story is even much more complicated…
    This article has some serious problems and the author has corformed to have several mutual ” friends” with report Li and Flying cat. So, some internet users maybe leave comments not very nice here. Please just take it easy, as Yundy said.
    In my opinion, before post this article you can commuticate with more chinese internet users who don’t have economic benefits in this problom………

    • Yekaterina Lee says:

      What this girl or boy or whoever mentioned as ‘mutual ” friends”’ is actually just following each other on weibo (just like “following” on twitter). It makes no sense to take it as a sign of friendship. By the way, Rudolph and Mr. Xuefeng Liu, who’s a reknowed music critic and a strong supporter (even to certain extreme in some people’s opinion, mine included) of Yundi, also follow each other on weibo.

      It seems for me that Yundi’s fans have a logic that whoever criticize Yundi must have reasons other than really feeling unsatisfied with Yundi’s playing. And I guess that’s why Yundi’s fans are attacking his compatriots, thinking some negative opinions on Yundi was trying to make Yundi being inferior to them. Personally, I don’t understand this kind of “logic” at all.

  24. There is obviously a coterie trying to crowd out Yundi because of some particular reasons. This reporter and the editor from Beijing Daily and some music critics have spread a lot of false information which sounds remarkably like personal abuse on Yundi. (By the way they are acquaintances so…you know….) One of them even threated to beat him because they said Yundi went on stage with only 10 days’ practice. But there were also famous music critics and cutural commentors argued against those insults to Yundi. If you get to know how they behave in China, Mr. Lebrecht, you will know why the public gets so angry. Instead of basing the opinions on facts, some media tell lies. When people found false information from the report of Beijing Daily, the editor just admitted part of the mistakes and refused to take responsibility because he thought he didn’t write the article. How ridiculous!!! However i think the reason why they did it is that the market of classical music is still small compared with western countries. Just guessing. Have a nice day! (Yundi didn’t even get married!!!!)

  25. Bullshit.

    Read Chinese, see how best-pianiest-ever-exist-in-this-universe langlang has slandered Yundi years after years on public media – simply because Yundi does not commercialize like him and doesn’t has his public media relationship.
    (Lang also stated “Algerich dreamed to has his technique”, “Kissin has already beaten by him” “He is already top 2, if not 1, of all living pianists” “LangLang’s Rachmaninoff made the audience forget Horowitz”……etc, etc, etc:

    Read the news cuts below:

    He also sell tickets for kids of 30 thousand Chinese Yuan per master class, and be late for a whole hour, made the kids waiting for him in freezing wind.

  26. Charlene love kiwi says:

    The words Yundi murmured were not – ‘Oh, you are looking for Lee-Hom’. The magician insisted that Yundi said the words. Yundi denied it in a following interview ( But the magician insisted his claim on Weibo. Beijing Daily released an untrue report, some fans asked the editor for an apology or a statement, but the editor refused all the requests. Now some of fans prepare to report it to the superior department. All gossips about Yundi turned into honesty issues and that was the reason why some of the fans became overreacted. Some Chinese critics and media are not neutral and has slandered the pianist and another pianist for years. Fans could accept criticism but not rumors. This event has harmed Yundi’s reputation. Yundi Music Group Company announced that any untrue report about this pianist would be solved in legal approach. Then the magician kept silent. Both Yundi and his fans are fed up with the media hype. It seems that Mr. Tang has not provided thorough information about this event. LOL!

  27. Seriously I don’t think this is a responsible review. Look at the words used on the pianist,”entertainer” and “sexual scandal”. Other than describing the TV show, not much fact told but instead there is some exaggerated comments. I regard it as not relevant for this talented pianist. As what I see, this young pianist was unfortunately involved in some rumors and I DO hope to see him get rid of them and get back to piano.

    Besides, I don’t see the comments above saying lang lang slandered yundi as reasonable either.

    • Dr. Floyd Fong says:

      My thoughts exactly. To be honest, I haven’t seen many convincing comments or journal on classical music or classical performers in Chinese press for a few years now. Every time when I tried to search something, especially on weibo (Chinese version of Twitter), what I saw were all biased comments which focusing on wrong points, or even dull rumors about Chinese pianists. To say some journalists are ‘professional’ is such an overstatement. At least 80 percents about their writings are just bashing on Yundi Li, and the other 20 percents are reposting of the videos that they stolen from Youtube. They won’t even want to pay for concerts or classical discs, btw.

      • They don’t really treasure such young talents and just feel free to write rumors to attract readers. Previously lang lang was also involved in some rumor with an actor. Now it’s yundi li’s turn. I want to say, come on, who cares whether the pianist is in a relationship, married or divorced .If he wants to tell us, he will !

  28. Thanks for your concern on Yundi, however, there are some mistakes in Rudolph Tang’s report and maybe I can make it clear.

    At first, Yundi’s fans never attack Chinese social media for not accepting different opinons about thier icon. Beijing Daily recently has published a report on Yundi but this report is full of false information which may bring bad influence on Yundi’s reputation. Yundi’s fans think this report is not fair and hope the reporter can make an apologise in order to protect Yundi’s reputation. The news that the editor of Beijing Daily recieved a death threat from Yundi’s fans is uncertain. No one konws it is true or not. And many people find that the reporter of this unfair report is close related with one of Yundi’s rival. Every report on that rival is exaggeratedly positive and of course almost every report on Yundi is malicious. So this reporter is suspected of being a kind of hack writer.

    At second Yundi is never being married let alone divorced with so-called politically powered wife. This is totally false news and also this kind of rumor including sextual scandle is suspected of being produced by his rival’s team. Even in Chinese twitter, weibo, there is a group of people. It is like their meaning of existence is to attack Yundi by spreading rumor sometimes even personal abuse. In order to protect Yundi’s reputation, Yundi’s fans need to keep on clarifing those rumor, however their working is being malicious defined as harassment by that group and they even call Yundi’s fans as internet mob.

    Acttually all of this dispute come from Yundi’s program in Chinese Spring Festival Gala. You may know that in 2012 Yundi was being friendly with a pop singer in Taiwan named Lee-hom. However some people and media misunderstood thier friendship as a kind of bromance. Actually Yundi was really not willing to be invoved into this kind of scandle. However during the program of Yundi in Chinese Spring Festival Gala, the magician, Yundi’s partner suddenly said ” You are looking for Lee-hom” without asking for Yundi’s permission. What’s worse, after the performance, the magician lied to pubilc that this line was a suggestion by Yundi’s team so Yundi was being critised for hyping by using his bromance sacndle. Fortunately CCTV then made an announcemet that this”looking for Lee-hom” line was totally the magician’s improv and then Yundi also clarified that he never suggested this” Lee-hom” line.

    Actually most of people choose to belive in Yundi because Yundi is always honest and low-pitched and there is no need for him to hype in order to gain fame. He is already an excellent and modest artist and many people are proud of him because his achivement. In the larggest Chinses bbs Tianya, netizens even post their handwrite note in order to support Yundi. And also Yundi is going to perform in the coming Lantern Festival Gala in Great Hall of the People .

    That is all I know about recent news of Yundi. Agian thanks for your concern for Yundi. He is really popular in China and many young people like him a lot not only because of his virtuosity in piano playing but also because of his mild and modest character. Even talking to his rival, he is very friendly. He hopes to make classical music in a high penetration in China and he is keep on wroking for this purpose. That is why sometimes he choose to cooperate with pop star. Never for improve his own fame but to make classical musics more poplular especially among young people. I really admire him and hope he can realize his dream.

  29. I don’t get it why Yundi’s fans keep attacking Langlang and blame him for everything. They love to make fun of langlang and use a nickname – “the best pianist in the universe” – to insult him, claiming that Yundi is so much better than langlang but just being low key (Despite the fact that some of Yundi’s recent performance were truly disasters).

    But these fans don’t tell why, so they keep saying it is because Lang lang looks ugly, lang lang asked others to attack Yundi, Langlang is an American but Yundi is a Chinese (In their eyes, every music critic who ever criticized Yundi was sent by Langlang, including Rudolph). These kids barely know anything about classical music, but they clearly know who to attack and who not. Thus I believe they are manipulated by Yundi’s team.

    Below are some pictures:

    Fans brainlessly supporting/idolizing a pianist (or a current entertainer?), with few knowledge
    Messing around
    Creating tons of rumors in major forums, in order to fool the public and attack the pianist’s major competitors and whoever has a doubt.
    Following these poor guys and insulting them directly via the Chinese twitter
    While at the same time, flattering the influential guys, lying to them and claiming how innocent Yundi is .

    Looks like a cultural revolution, isn’t it?

    The worst thing is that Yundi seems to enjoy it, but this kind of fame/vanity wont last long, he is not a pop star, I hope him realize that. Music won’t lie. History won’t lie either.

    What a shame to see those silly comments in this post, I feel sorry for these fans and myself messing around, sorry Mr. Lerbecht, hope you don’t mind. Please don’t be bothered, and enjoy your weekend! I will not come back to defend myself, I hope they will leave you alone as well.



    • Charlene loves kiwi says:

      Lying to them and claiming how innocent Yundi is? Then you mean Yundi is guilty? What an amusing self-incrimination!A culture revolution? Internet mob? That’s what some media claim the fans and the reason why some of the fans become furious. But in my mind, though some fans lost a little manner, some people are losing their dignity. Some critics said in their blogs:why don’t let the fans go to the blogs of Norman and annoy him? and then post the report on their blogs.Who is actually manipulating the fans?Satisfied, huh? But we are only coming to explain the truth. What a pity!

  30. Interested observer says:

    A very revealing exchange.

  31. Sir, thanks for your concern on Yundi. I have been following your blog for a while and this is when I really intend to make some comments for this article.

    First of all I want to apologize for some rude comments above. In fact, it is the content you cited from Tang that makes many Chinese people (as you can see from the comments) so angry.
    Some correspondents in China have been releasing articles full of irresponsible and unverified rumors about Yundi recent years. More than this, they labeled Yundi’s supporters as “crazy attackers” in order to deprive different opinions. People who noticed their tricks were also described as “Yundi’s crazy fans”. All of these irritated the majority of people , not only Yundi’s fans.

    I am not sure if these rumors have anything to do with Lang Lang. But according to an article in the paper by the editor who claimed “death threat”, bad rumors about Yundi always came with unexpected compliments for Lang. You may know why.

  32. Plus, I saw some familiar names above, who claimed themselves as “victims” by “Yundi’s crazy fans”. Just as what they did via Chinese media. Glad that they posted their well-prepared speech everywhere. It is not hard to identify them at all.

  33. Mr. Lebrecht, you see so many people replied you. There has been never a pianist in China like Yundi, who got attention for stepping into the entertainment circles.
    Actually last year Yundi became so popular in China that nearly everyone knows him, because of his cooperations with a popstar Leehom Wang and a famous magician Lu Chen. It was not a bad thing. But now his reputation is not so good. People are questioning, if he made use of the cooperations to raise a hullabaloo.
    I think his mind of popularizing classical music is great. But his method of dealing the problems is inappropriate. Besides, his performance these years has been going backwards and is a little bit disappointing.
    Most of his new fans follow Yundi just beacause of his appearance and elegancy. They pay little attention to his music and make no allowance for other’s doubting and criticizing too. In fact it was the critics who were attacked and the criticized who won sympathy and protection.
    Wish the public will like the classical music itself, not only for someone as an idol and Yundi can focus on classical musical performances to develop his skills. I expect he will bring us some satisfying works.

    • Dear, I understand you concern.
      As a fans who know yundi after the crossover, I do hope Yundi choose better method.
      Choose some safe ways because the entertainment circle is too complex and deep. Yundi, absolutely, cannot handle it.
      And I am trying to enjoy classical music now but it’s too DIFFICULT!!Do you have any advise?I can only feel it but never mention know it or analyse it. Thank you in advance!!

  34. See? Yundi fans are coming here, keeping saying it is not the truth. However, they do not cast dirty words, which they say to domestic media. Because they are not familiar with the English expression, and they know the author’s position.

    • of course this is a conspiracy,the friends of Rudolph Tang copy this website to show to the fans of yundi immedirately just want to exploit Mr. Lebrecht to attact yundi .I think they do this so as to obtain profit of their own.

  35. Yundi‘s fans are powerful in China. A ha

    • Yes! We support Yundi!
      In 2007 Yundi is not so popular.He was attacked by the same group as today in all kinds of Chinese forums. But nobody clarify the rumors and help or support him at that time. This time,we won’t let him alone.

      Yundi do cooperate with some pop star like Jay-Chou or Leehom. But the purpose of crossover is to promote his beloved classic music. Definitely Crossover increase his exposure to the public .

      We are fans of Yundi but we do have IQ. I am an affiliate of ACCA(not a member but i pass all exams). My register 1876820.I just want to prove we will investigate the icon before we like him.

      Yundi is good at music but not good at explain. So as fans,I will do it.

  36. Here is how this “attacking mechanism” works: there is a certain group of hard-core fans that do random searches on Weibo for posts containing keywords about their beloved pianist. When a negative comment comes up, this post is spontaneously retweeted and soon be noticed by thousands of Yundimaniacs. After evaluating the target’s importance, the attack begins.
    For example, on Chinese New Year’s eve, a famous percussionist, Li Biao (he is professor at Hans Eisler Conservatory, Berlin) commented on Weibo that Yundi’s performance on the Gala is a disgrace of Chopin’s name on Heaven. Angry Yundi fans flooded this post at first, but soon they noticed that Mr.Li is actually a powerful figure in European music world, and the attack was stopped in no time. Mr.Li was so much luckier than other “less important” people including Mr. Zhang Jialin, a professor of collaborative piano at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, who was bashed more than 3,000 times on that very night.

    • negative comments? ARE YOU KIDDING? some criticism towards Yundi is so disgusting and unreasonable!
      They criticize Yundi because he loves his own country
      They criticize and roasted Yundi because some of his fans are too crazy. (in this case, i think they need critise Liszt as well!!)
      Yundi doses make some mistakes on his concerto almost 2 years ago, but being criticized and laughing at until now. Zhang Jianlin, Yao Xu, and some other so-called critics on Weibo attack Yundi everyday with words so disgusting if you could read Chinese you will understand the feeling! They claimed that they are being attacked, but i would say it is because of their own karma!

      Evidence shows that Yao Xu is a close friend of Chen Sa (another chinese pianist). As a critic should remain isolated, but he attended many personal togethering with this pianist, lots of dinners together.i doubt his FAIRNESS! and this Yao Xu wrote an article criticized Yundi’s Beethoven, and saying that Chen Sa’s beethoven is far more better than Yundi’s.
      here is the link of Chen Sa’s beethoven, in the “wonderful” performance, she forgot to play 120 measures, not mentioning how dilatory the speed is!!

  37. Very interesting comments.

    Norman, is Yundi a classical pianist or classical crossover?

    The whiff of homophobia is the most intriguing part of this exchange.

    • Classical. Agree. It’s being kept in check.

      • Hey Janey and Norman,

        I think it confused you here. It is not about homophobia, but more about the integrity of this pianist.

        Yundi is straight for sure, so he is in doubt when he made use of his might-be-gay friend (the popular singer). During the rumor time with the singer, Yundi was still a married man, he hided his marriage from the public. Now evidence shows that he was not only married, he even dated woman during this rumor time who is a broadcast in a national TV, which triggered his divorce. Just several days ago, Yundi was found dating a third woman and celebrated Valentine’s day with her. Plus, before the gay rumor, his romantic rumors never stopped, but with women.

        I don’t wanna comment on his personal life, but I just felt bad by him lying to the public (hide his marriage, intentionally obscure his sexuality) to gain popularity from young Chinese women. It looks weird, but it is what happened. That’s China, girls love see handsome men being together, don’t ask me why. It is a culture thing, I have no objection to homosexuality, I just don’t like to see people make use of it because it hurts the true homosexuals.

        The pop singer could be the true gay, that’s why he was so offended. It is common to see 3rd class entertainer makes use of famous guys, telling the public they are dating, to attract attention. But Yundi did the same thing to a famous celebrity without considering how he’d get hurt from it. The singer is very popular in China, but before the rumor, Yundi was not (Classical music in China is not as popular as in Western countries). After the singer’s clarification, Yundi’s fans spread a lot of rumors of this singer dating men and laughed at him, that’s the true homophobia.

        It is really a classical phenomenon, these fans were initially attracted by Yundi’s (fake) rumor with another guy, after they fell in love with Yundi, they began to defend for him being straight and ATTACKED the suspected gay singer for being not straight.

        • I don’t have information on your comments about Yundi’s “divorce”, so I won’t comment on that. But I’ve been following the recent info about him very closely. There is ABSOLUTELY NO evidence showing that he dated a woman on valentine’s day (although you stated as if you were sitting next to his table when they were dating). All you could find was a photo he took on that day, with a vague figure reflection on the wine bottle in front of him. All rumors for his valentine date started from there. You couldn’t even tell whether the person in the reflection was a man or woman, not to mention that person could just be a passers-by.

          Of course, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but it is not fair to treat vague information as concrete facts and mislead others. Based on what you are saying about Yundi dating a woman on valentine’s day, I suspect the motivation and ground truth of your other comments about him.

      • Mr. Norman, your words has been torted by those critics in Chinese as ” See! Mr. Norman doubts whether Yundi still belongs to Classical!” on Weibo right now!

        what a vivid evidence! they are doing the same disgraceful thing alsmot day! SHAME ON THEM!

    • Actually no one cares whether he’s gay or straight. What irritates the general public is what he and his team have been doing to other artists and innocent people.

      BTW, It’s long been rumored that he has NOT graduated from Hannover due to his bad record, but Hannover refused to give out such personal information for confidentiality cause. As almost all the evidences are in Chinese, please find below for your reference an excerpt from an email to Hannover which summarized his behavior.

      “Yundi Li, a Chinese pianist, who has always claimed he’s a graduate from Hannover and differentiated himself as one of the top pianists in the world, has long been doubted whether he tells truth in light of his poor professionalism. As a result, it has raised serious concerns and questions amongst the general public in China about the status of Hannover as the paragon of music education.

      There are a lot of evidences / clues we take from publicly available information that show Mr. Li’s disgraceful behavior, e.g. his bad performance at concerts are frequently criticized by critics and the audience, he and his team disparage and insult other Chinese musicians, artists in other fields and professional music critics who don’t speak highly of his skills, he and his team incite his fans (mostly little girls who don’t understand classic music at all) to purchase his CDs in large quantities to inflate the sales volume to gloss over his popularity and to initiate personal attacks towards people who raise even the slimmest slice of doubt of his professionalism, and etc. However, he and his team claimed that all these quarrels and fights are deliberately plotted by other artists and critics because they are jealous of Li’s achievements and intend to blur his image.”

  38. Wow. So finally we see the dark side of the classical boom in China. The homophobia behind much of the ranting is deplorable, if not surprising. What is surprising are the reports of some of Yundi’s recent performances. Has he perhaps been spending too much time trying to beat Lang Lang at his own game of extroverted promotion? What is most interesting to me is that when the two pianists first came on the scene, I found Yundi Li much more sensitive and insightful than Lang Lang. But I have to admit, Lang Lang has been developing from a spectacle into a true artist in the last few years. Has Yundi gone in the opposite direction? I haven’t kept up with his recordings and performances to know…

    • Please refer to Lebrecht’s clarifications above. I’ve pasted them here:


      Norman Lebrecht says:
      February 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm
      The hostility of Lang Lang towards Yundi Li is well documented on this site. See most recently here:

      This present report is by Rudolph Tang, a professional journalist, working from published sources. We have asked him to look at these comments and respond.

    • LangLang is good at piano, I admit, and he is good at making face in his performances…haha
      Actually fans of Yundi did not quarrel much with those who spread rumors, it is net citizens that show their support. He has been slandered by really harsh words, but if we just show a little of our support we get vilified too. I don’t know why they are so sensitive. At last, they claim that all of the Yundi fans are aggressive to make people silent. I wonder if there exists any freedom of speech…

  39. Robert Spencer says:

    I don’t much understand the hostility of some Chinese “cristics” towards Yundi Li. They recently devote themselves to make up and spread rumors of Yundi Li around all websites. Perhaps, it is not out of music, but interest.

  40. After reading over the article and all the comments above, I just want to say, the value of Yundi both as a classical pianist and one who keeps trying to carry forward classical music is geatly proven.
    Yundi has brought us lots of beautiful classical music,and he is trying on his way .Different people have different understandings of the classic mucic.Oobjective comments and criticism,not fake rumors, are beneficial for him.
    I look forward to his better future.
    Come on, Yundi!

  41. I just can’t understand, what drives these so-called chinese commentator attack Yundi so hardly, we chinese Yundi’ fans always believe that you always stick to your own opinions instead of others, Thanks.

  42. Saturdaystillwork says:

    Hello,it‘s me again. I, like most chinese people, don’t like to tell our bad things to foreigners. Because we don’t think western people will understand. Our society work in so different way. We don’t want you think our whole country is bad.
    But today I saw Yundi’s new picture from yesterday. He lost weight seriously to some unhealty degree in the past 15 days since the disaster on Feb 9, the Chinese Spring Festival. I think being accused to be unhonest worried him much. Today he left for London, we thought he could leave all the bad memory in China. But this artcle follow him to urope too. I don’t think he will explain for himself and I don’t want to see good people getting hurt any more.
    So I try to eplain something here to help any foreign reader to understand, if the article can’t be deleted. As a ordinary people, this is at least what I can do.

    1 In China, Internet is the most important way for ordinary people to express their opinion and fight for their right. We even use internet to expose corrupt government officers such as Zhengfu Lei; to make sure the criminals get a fair trial such as Qiming Li, a son of a powerful man. Unlike the reporters Hongyan Li and Rudolph Tang, we don’t have much other choice. Internet is almost the only convenient way we have to make our voice be heard. Then you can see why our chinese people will argue a lot here.

    2 In China the classic music market is really small compared to our huge population and very unhealty, but is growing fast. Many practitioners including critics, managers and all kind organizers(not the artists, they work very hard)are young and un-professional and want to earn money quickly. So they form many interest-groups to get more power. The famous artists like Yundi and LangLang can earn money easily. But the others are not that fortunate, If they don’t make deal with those groups, they won’t have the “even” performing opportunity and the critic’s “even” commen, such as Wenyu Shen. Many excellent artists choose to leave china for good environment, such as Yujia Wang.

    3 In China the public media have lost their authority, especially to people who use internet a lot and can see much more things than what the newspapers and TV programs will tell. Not because of being controlled as many western friends’ assumption, but because that most of the media are used to be bought, except two or three big papers repressing the central government . If you have enough money, you can post any article on the newspapers. For entertainment and culture part, the price is surprizingly cheap, like 100-200 dollars.(of cause not article about politics)

    4 CCTV’s Spring Festival is the big gala in the world and 95% of the seven hundred million audiences are not classic music fans. The Gala is for fun and there is NO way to perform pure classic and make more than 6 hundred million audiences sleeping. The gala has became a part of the festival tradition, a chinese kind carnival for all the people.

    5 In China many young people are fine with other people’s sexual orientation and marriage experience. Sometime they even behaviour intimately with same sex just for fun. But most of the elder people who are the main audience of the Gala, are not OK with it. (It’s getting better.)

    6 The magician is a good friend of Lang Lang.

    7 There is a group of critics and managers whose main target seems to be destroying Yundy’s reputation on Internet for at least 5 years now. Please don’t ask me WHY! Idon’t understand either! Last month one of them said to a Yundi’s new fan”Don’t try to clear the fake slander and argue with us. All you done is make us hate him more. At the end you won’t love him all your life but I will hate him all my life!” See! We laught at these unbelievable hatred at that time.
    Some of this group’s central menbers include:
    Yao Xu —already leave commends here,use the same icon on weibo(Chinese twitter)
    Rudolph Tang—-write this artcle
    Flying Cat ( Weibo ID) —post this article’s website on Weibo to irrage Yundi’s fan and supporters
    I don’t have all picture evidence right now but I will post the link as soon as possible.

    Ringt now when I writer these worlds, they are still working hard on Weibo to prove Yundi has married even after we stated so many times” We don’t care!”. And the “evidence” is a photo having similar(not even same!!) desk with Yundi’s home. They found this picture from some girl’s weibo, they must think they are better than FBI…

    8 NOT all chinese people are carzy!

    • @Saturdaystillwork Thank you for this comment, especially information about the classical music market, the use of the internet in China and your views on attitudes toward sexual orientation.

      • Sweets LiLy says:

        I agree with Saturdaystillwork. Maybe Norman can regard this article and comments as a good way to reflect our Chinese classical markets,the so-called music critics in China and our Chinese People.

    • There are some quite intelligent summary of Chinese classical music scene. But there is at least one very stupid point: ‘6. The magician is a good friend of Lang Lang. ‘

      Do you suggest that there is a conspiracy? Do you think the magician deliberately get into this conflict, sacrificing his own interest, put his own reputation at risk, going through emotional stress, canceling show, just because he and Lang Lang had been following each other on Chinese Twitter and taken photos together.

      There are couple topics like this in Chinese forum “Tianya”. There is one topics even suggest the Bank which have been using Lang Lang as spoken person and lang lang had conspired to cause the whole mess. There are quite large number posts in those topics. I am sure that there are some Yundi’s new fans (mostly high school or college girls) believe in those stuffs. But it surprised me that a seemingly intelligent person like Saturdaystillwork would believe in this nonsense.

  43. Hey I am from Mainland China and I just wanna confirm one thing.

    Millions of fans of Chinese pianist and entertainer Yundi are waging war on major Chinese social media against everyone with a different opinion of their icon. Attacked are dozens of music critics, newspapers, film makers, journalists, novelists and editors, even compatriots like Lang Lang and Sa Chen. One senior culture editor from the government-owned Beijing Daily received death threats this week from a Yundi fan after the Daily published a thorough investigation of Yundi’s growing profile in the entertainment sector. The editor alerted the police.

    This is exactly what happened on Sina Weibo. I am one of those victims for I just said that I thought Lang Lang was better than Yundi, then several of Yundi’s fans commented with dirty words. Oops….

  44. I’m just a fans of Yundi. Thanks for the report. I am glad that more and more people are listening to classical music because of him. Best wishes to his European tour!

  45. Dear Mr. Lebrecht

    I think you may really surprise about these comments and arguments on your blog, just because of an article regarding with Yundi, the young Chinese pianist. Though I am a fan of Yundi, I dont want to explain too much about the rumors above as someone may already show you. I saw all the comments above, and your previous report about the competition with Yundi and Lang Lang, and I believe that you have your own judgement about him, just like us.

    Music will always be the best language for the pianist or the musician, and music will tell the truth. When someone are saying millions of Yundi’s fans are attacking jouralists or media like Beijing Daily, the truth is they use false evidence to prove that Yundi has already been an entertainer rather than a pianist. They are opposed firmly by the people because of the rumors and irresponsible lies publised in the newspaper.

    Besides, some of the commentators above, like Yao Xu, are really famous in Yundi’s fans in China. You may not believe that criticizing or even slandering Yundi is part of their work or maybe life. They do these foul things to earn salary. That sounds ridiculous, but that’s what happening.

    Sorry about commenting so much in your blog, especially when it is not related to music itself. I would like to emphasize once that music will tell the truth. And everyone who loves music will have his/ her own judgement about the yound pianist

  46. Yes, I totally agree with the author!

    Dear friends who love classical music, you should know that Lang Lang in China is more popular than Yundi Li nowadays ! Especially people consider Lang Lang’s technic best around world, better than many masters such as Arthur Rubinstein, KrystianZimerman !

    Moreover, people love Lang Lang because he totally absorbed in the performance on the stage! Do you think Lang Lang is so cute while playing the piano? There is a funny video made by Lang Lang’s fans! Please enjoy it! We love Lang Lang, he is only the super star today but will become No.1 in the near future! Thanks for looking my comment.

  47. Sorry, Mr. Norman Lebrecht, I put the link of your blog on the Chinese Twitter, so there are a lot of people in China could see this piece of report. And I guess a lot of comments may bother you these days? As you can see, most fans of Lang Lang would admire Yundi as well, but some of them just show a little jealousy for Yundi. Please accept my apologize for them, they are just too young!

  48. Dr. Floyd Fong says:

    Dear Mr. Norman Lebrecht,


    As a long time submariner of your fabulous journal site, I have to surface for a while, after reading the recent journal here, and yes, it seems to be discussed by thousands of other people at the same time, the topic of ‘Yundi overtakes Lang Lang on Chinese social media’.

    At the very beginning, what caught my attention immediately was the picture that you put right on title, with the yellow label of DG and Yundi Li’s photo on, and most importantly, the title of his forthcoming album ‘The Art of YUNDI’( which will be released on May 13, 2013 in UK, and currently having NO IMAGE AVAILABLE for the cover yet. So this picture seems to be…umm, a bit of interesting to me. Was it the cover for his new album? I don’t think so, because according to the suppliers, no cover image is available at this moment. What makes it more interesting was that the picture of Yundi Li here was actually from one of his older albums, ‘Liszt & Chopin: Piano Concertos No.1′ (, which was released in 2006 (in Asia) and 2007 (in Europe and North America), not exactly the cover of it though, but one of the pages inside. This makes me a little bit curious on where this ‘cover’ came from, did somebody else sent it to you, or it was pasted together with the report by your correspondent Rudolph Tang? At least at this point, DG hasn’t released the cover for this album.

    Now let’s get some discussions on this ‘media war of terror’ thing.

    No offense intended, but I found several questionable points in this article.

    One fact has to be told is that the classical music industry in mainland China is not mature, and people who tend to comment on classical music are not educated to a certain level to have enough knowledge for independent points of view on certain facts. Of course, everyone has their own preference, but what I often came across on critics or discussions from some Chinese discussion board were just some blind criticism or just bashing and rumors that were non-related to classical music at all. For example when I went to some major concerts, what I noticed from the event, the technical details and interpretations, were not reflected at all even in some official journals by so-called ‘professional’ critics. The comments were always subjective, repeating negative things that rarely proved to be convincing or valuable on artists they did not like. But when their personal favorites gave disappointing performances, they tended to ignore it, and would claim that anyone who criticized their favs were fans of their favs’ rivals, which was childish and unprofessional. The pianist Yundi Li, unfortunately, became one of their major objects of criticism ever since he came back to China from Germany 4 or 5 years ago, and from the time I started to browse the internet for classical events info, all what I could find in comments towards him were just negative. While I can certainly understand art is subjective and that you can not satisfy everyone with your performance, but bashing on everything, everywhere and every time? This makes me wonder. As an amateur pianist, I have studied classical music and performing arts for many years, and obtained professional certificate from music academy as well. From the concerts of Yundi Li that I have been to, there were very few times that he gave ‘terrible performances’ as some of the posters in your comments stated, and the thing they kept bashing on Yundi Li were not professional-related at all. Some just kept on repeating ‘Oh that was so bad, so disappointing, so much worse than someone else, bla bla bla…’ but at the end of the day, none of them was able to actually pick out which part was inappropriately played by the pianist. To add on that, there were more than a few times that those critics described how terrible and how disappointing the performance by Yundi Li was while they were later found out had NOT attended the concerts at all! Chinese people tended to reply on Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) too much, which caused many false reports/stories posted on it, and people would still believe in what they read and saw from there, amazing, right? Regarding to Yundi Li, again, for example, I went to his concerts in Hong Kong, Shanghai and a few other cities last year. Although for the concerts in mainland China, the audience was not that well educated to put on enough respect towards the pianists, Yundi Li was still able to deliver great performance with gorgeous technique and great understanding. However, by the time I went back home to check other people’s comments, those posted by so-called classical music critics were very hash (again), describing a lot of ‘disasters’ that didn’t happen at all in concerts, like stating how many technical errors he made, how wrong his interpretations were, which were exactly opposite from what I got from the concerts. However, these were all what they would say, no further details were given, so that people who browsed those posts would get the impressions that Yundi Li gave bad performances, without knowing where the bad points were, or were they really bad at all.

    Now back to the report by Mr. Rudolph Tang.

    First of all, I sincerely disagree on using the word of ‘entertainer’ to describe Yundi Li. Yes, he attended a few shows on TV, but not that many, except from the Chinese Spring Festival gala that he only appeared for 3 times over the past 12 years. Lang Lang and tons of other Chinese artists also appeared on the TV shows, he is not a special case at all.

    Secondly, the so-called ‘war’ on major Chinese social media was not started by his ‘millions of fans’, instead, it was an activity that intended to call for some local media’s being practical and realistic in their reports, because nowadays, tons of Chinese media told lies in their reports, and Yundi Li was just one of the victims in those false reports. Because Yundi Li always kept low key and would not want to argue for himself even false reports happened, some posters on a discussion board decided that they would take this action and post their signatures to support Yundi Li. Those who posted there on that board to support him were not his fans at all, let alone knowing any of his compatriots in classical music. However, in these days, anyone who support Yundi Li in public, or even only speak a few words for him, would be declared as ‘crazy, crazy Yundi Li fans’ or ‘people who work for Yundi Li’, by those who spread unconvincing rumors on Yundi Li’s private life and posted dull bashing comments on internet.

    Thirdly, regarding to the ‘alleged involvement in sexual scandals and a lack of artistic’, this is the part that confused me most. From the sources that I know, some of the other Chinese pianists were caught in so-called ‘sexual’ scandal, like someone else, who was reported by those journalists hunting the news of celebrities to have relationship with a model in China. However, Yundi Li, at least for recent years, was never reported in such news. Actually, people tended to spread rumors on him since 2007, on his (non-existent) relationships, but in the end, nothing was found to be official or convincing.

    Fourthly, the divorce rumor has been spread by a few posters, again on the classical discussion groups, for more than a year now, and the first time I saw such rumor was back in early 2012, and later the same poster continued to spread this rumor to new comers from another website as 2011, while now the ‘divorce’ date on this report became Nov 2012. From what we know is, he has NEVER registered, and keeps single for all these years since he grew up. His single info, with NO marriage record, can be confirmed from his passport and all the supporting documents, while NONE of the marriage/divorce rumors has any document/proof to support.

    Finally, the male pop singer named Lee-Hom was not from Hong Kong, he is actually an ABC who is currently based in Taiwan. And all the things from the last paragraph of this report just described the shows on Chinese Spring Festival Gala, which has nothing to do with Yundi Li’s professional career on piano. Btw, the music that Lang Lang played in the same Gala was a cheesy and modern version of Frühlingsstimmen Walzer, adding tons of unnecessary technical notes to the theme, making it noisy and disturbing, which reduced the original beauty and rhythm of the waltz. Yundi Li, on the other hand, played the opening part of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Movement III, keeping faithful to the original composition without any adjustment. It was a pity that due to the time limit, his performance of this part was forced to be shortened to a few sentences and he was not allowed by the director to play the full length of this piece.

    I declare that all the facts that I put above are true and if you need any proof, please feel free to inform me, I can provide evidence for every single point that I stated here.

  49. Hi,Mr. Norman
    I am a journalist, I must tell you two things.
    1 don’t believe Chinese media said, they can sell for money to my soul. If you want to learn Chinese, can only choose CCTV and the ” people’s daily “.
    2 Chinese have few real music critics, the false commentators always caring pianists private life. But, what is the relationship between private life with music? They use a viciously attacked Lang Lang and Yundi Li, and the reason is extremely ridiculous, just because they are not women, can not meet their fantasy. They even talk and laugh at female pianist’s appearance and stature in public, it is extremely impolite.

  50. Why ordinary people love Yundi in China?

    First of all, let’s see Yundi’s reply towards all these rumors. He was being asked how to react towards the rumors and imputations in a recent interview, he said with a peaceful look: “I appreciate I’m still alive, I can still talk to my parents and friends every day. IT DOESN’T MATTER, THAT’S LIFE.”

    Mr. Norman, Yundi’s peace and some critics’s unscrupulousness makes a sharp comparation, and that’s why fans love Yundi.

    I’m a fan of classical music, i learnt piano and flute since the age of 4, and now for 22 years. The reason why I step out today is that the music enviroment in China is TOO BAD. Some critics have close and money oriented relationship with other pianists, and is trying to control the market and the public. How could they be FAIR?! They attacks Yundi almost everyday as a DAILY JOB with many different accounts, laughing at most of his fans, criticising that most of Yundi’s fans are not graduated from music academy, claiming those fans are NOT qualified and will not be able appreciate classical music. WHAT A NONSENSE! Yundi influenced many young people to stp into the world of classical music last year. One of my friend who is ignorant of classical before, now listening to Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Beethoven. What a great job Yundi did! Classical music belongs to everyone on earth, everyone has the right to love it!

    I posted one pianist’s Beethoven on my own website two days ago. in this recording, this pianist forgot to play 120 measures but still being praised by those critics. After posing this recording, it has been reposted by many people, and they were blamed for their unfairness. Then, interesting thing happenned! I received a call in the midnight, it is from one of my acquaintance who has a good relationship with those critics, she asked me to DELETE the recording! Just a small example of myself to let people know how critics works in China!!

    What is the most important trait to a musician. I think is love. Love towards music, society and human being with an open heart. I see this trait in Mozart, Beethoven, Rachamaninoff, Chopin, Thaikovsky and many other composers’ works, also heard it in Yundi’s performance. But I failed to find it on these Chinese critics. They have no standard but only aims!!

  51. This is really an interesting or rather a funny phenomenon. I’m truly amazed by the sudden soaring of mr li’s popularity over the web in a span of a few weeks. It would be great if only mr li’s music could attract as much attention as his homosexual rumours and scandals as he seemed largely unknown or remote to majority of the Chinese masses before his alleged romantic involvement with a male pop singer ran wild.

    • Well, it’s true that more people got to know him, but it’s definitely not the reason why so many people love him. Who would love a person just because of the gay rumor? Classical music isn’t as popular, and Yundi studied abroad right after winning the Chopin competition, at the time when his fame was at peak. He did not like the way some other pianists tried to become so called “well-known”. That’s why “he seemed largely unknown to majority of the Chinese masses.” However, his concert tickets always sold out very fast and it’s unquestionable that he has been one of the most popular Chinese pianists throughout the world. People are attracted by his personality, music, and his virtue.

  52. As a fan of Yundi, I also see Lang Lang as a great pianist with talent and technique, and I’m sure that I am not alone. But I don’t admire Lang Lang when it comes to personality. The accusation of slander made by a certain group of “critics” doesn’t come from nowhere. Unlike those people, we have proof, without distortion, of their bad intention.

    It’s absurd that Yundi’s fans are labeled as “terrorists”. We only get angry about how those people use vilification, with obvious biases and distorted information to go against Yundi, a pianist who deserves respect and objective report. As far as I know, many fans of Yundi don’t care much about what these “critics” said or reported, since we know about their intention. Yundi’s music and profession is what we really want to focus on. And we are willing to see real, objective commends and criticisms.

    When asked about Lang Lang, Yundi always gave the answers that he and Lang Lang are both Chinese pianists, but they have their different interpretation and style, and that they share the responsibility to promote classical music in China. From where I see it, he doesn’t consider Lang Lang as a rivalry, but more as a comrade. ( He commended in Weibo ( Twitter in China) that the performance of Lang Lang in the Chinese New Year Gala was great after he gave his own performance in that gala and had the chance to watched Lang Lang’s performance. Here is the link: )

    Yundi actually has done a lot to bring more of the young generation in China into the world of classical music. A lot of young people, didn’t have so much interest in classical music before becoming fans of Yundi, now listen to classical music, try to appreciate and understand those amazing pieces and communicate about our understandings and feelings. Yundi also has plans to “walk into the campus” to communicate directly with the young people of colleges in China.

    It’s sad to look how Mr. Tang tried so hard to vilify Yundi. It’s a shame that there exist this kind of hostility in the classical circle. In respect to competition, the way to get a prior position is not vilifying the competitors, but working on to make yourself stronger first.

    All in all, Yundi and Lang Lang are both known talented pianists. We Chinese should regard them as our pride and appreciate their music, not matter what kind of stories are behind. This is my opinion, as me being a Yundi’s fan.

  53. Alexandra weiwei zhu says:

    As an amateurs violin player who had spent more the 15 years learning and enjoying the classical music, I just don’t understand why some of music critics and the media trys so hard to destroy a young musician.

    Maybe I should declare myself before I say anything, I love Mozart since age of 5 ,and I admire Yundi Li only because of his morality. The fact I can see in Weibo is endless invective and ridicule from so called music critics and irresponsible criticize from the media.

    As a matter of fact, Yundi Li had said nothing during the show in the Spring Festival Gala Evening, or did he accusing anyone for the inappropriate joke. The magician, instead, never stopped telling ‘the truth’ everyday till this morning. Yet, why eveyone is blaming Yundi Li for all of this?

    What’s more, nowadays, I dare not discuss this on my webside nor show any sympathy for Yundi Li, or I will be defined as his fans and I must be a ‘primary school students who is irrational’ or ‘ a person with somthing wrong with my brain’ or ‘internet mob who is attacking the poor music critics and the media’.

    These poor fans should really consider about turing to Lang Lang, cause by doing so, their life can be easyer. At leasr they can stay away from the attack and do enjoy some good time with classical music.

    I agree that there WILL be only ONE super star in the China who can play classical music and he will ‘become No.1 in the near future’, because some people had destroyed the rest for him.

    Did anyone consider trying to promote classical music to all of the youth together instead of putting one another into the storm?

  54. Just be fair says:

    Well, speaking of what happened on the Chinese New Year Gala hold by CCTV, the words were said by the magician, then CCTV announced that the lines on different from the previous rehearsals and the fragment would be cut off.

    Yundi, for 10 days, remained silent under the attack of the fans of the magician and the pop singer leehom. Hundreds of mass media, including web news, newspaper and TV programs, criticized him of being dishonest and overly involved in the entertainment. Do these reports count as a kind of media violence against Yundi?

    About the Beijing Daily, the editor clearly stated that Yundi did not have an agent and did not have any influential performance ever since he ended the agent contract with Columbia, which we all know is not the truth. Besides, the Beijing Daily also distorted the meaning of a comment from supporting Yundi to critize Yundi. The editor later admitted the mistakes on his weibo, but refused to make the corrections.

    And for those who are interested in revealing the private life of others, please stop. As a supporter of Yundi, Whether he is dating someone or whether he is married is not my concern.

  55. Dear Mr. Norman Lebrecht,

    This article has been cited by some Chinese websites already claiming that it is you agree and support Mr. Tang’s criticism towards Yundi. Now you see how the media can twist the fact.

    The link:

    It is fairly interesting about what’s happening: a Chinese reporter posted an article on a western website to criticize Yundi, then the Chinese media in turn cited this article to say that now the western media has also been criticizing Yundi – what a trcik…

    • yes, i see this article as well!
      Vivid evidence again!

    • Charlene loves kiwi says:

      That’s the reason why they use the word “foreign media”, as Yundi and Yundimusic has announced to use law. The title of that article is quite misleading : Famous English Music Critic: Yundi Li exceeded Lang Lang through the hype.

      When the foreign media is reporting Yundi’s tour, they are blackening their local pianist, not mentioning anything about music. Feeling sad and shame for them.

      I hope that Yundi and his tour would not be disturbed by those people.

  56. In China, not only Yundi’s fans are supporting him, but also the general public. See the video, numerous people wrote letter to say that they believe in Yundi.

  57. Hylda Shih says:

    Comments has been occupied by Yundi’s fans now.

  58. Fribble…

  59. Matinna says:

    Professor Dan Zhaoyi, Yundi’s teacher, cleared the nasty divorce rumor of Yundi the day before yesterday. In response to a query from a reporter, Prof. Dan said:” Yundi never get married, of course, can’t be divorced. We’re keeping in touch.”
    Again, here is the question: why and where does the rumors come from?

  60. I just want to say, Yundi Li makes me like classical music and he deserve our respect and love. The truth may come late, but never be absent. I believe in him.

    • a pass-by says:

      At first ,I appreciate Yundi for his music. But later I have to respect him for his integrity and his patriotic passion, he is a hero in my heart. Anyway, thanks Yundi for leading me steping in to the door of classical music .

  61. The whole things got nothing to do with Lang Lang: The whole so called gay affaire with the pop musician, the “he said vs he said” conflict with the magician on the TV Gala performance and this “Yundi had married and divoiced” story. But Lang lang’s name has been dragged out and smeared unfairly.

    On Chinese forums related these stories, there are about couple hundreds posts like this: “Yundi is the real internationally respected pianoist, Lang lang is the one really despised by international critics, and he is the fraud cheated the unknown Chinese audiance. Support Yundi, buying his CDs”.

    When there is something related to Yundi’s reputation, Lang lang’s name got smeared.

  62. I don’t understand why a pianist’s personal life weighs so much in this whole debate. Isn’t it all about music? Even if his gay rumor or whatever is true, how does it have anything to do with his music? Using “scandals” to headline those unconfirmed speculations about personal life reflects the bias and prejudice in judging one’s music. Why should these “rumors” define a pianist from the first place? Why doesn’t Yundi have the right to reveal what he would like to reveal to the public and hide what he would like to hide from public about his own life? In a recent interview, Yundi said that “only music could define him”. Attention from media and “so-called critics” have diverted so much from music, which I could only think of three explanations– 1. they are unprofessional 2. they try to malign him. 3. they can make up things and distort facts just for the sake of attracting public attention.

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