Articles, news and interviews about Churen Li
This 27-year-old classical pianist spices up her performances with pop, anime genres
With a gift in composing and performing since young, local musician Churen Li strives to grow a shared adoration for classical music among the masses.
Straits Times Singapore: Orchestra delivers brilliant music befitting Singapore's 50th anniversary
"But the sobriety quickly dissipated when Li Churen, 20, delivered an energetic reading of Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto. A conservatory alumni who is now a Yale postgraduate student, the young Singaporean showed extraordinary skill, displaying a sense of urgency in her playing that Lai had to stay vigilant to keep up with. Regrettably, the clapping was not sustained enough to get an encore from the brilliant pianist."
2 OCT 2015
South China Morning Post: Brief but fruitful musical encounter
"The first half featured the popular Rachmaninov concerto with young Singaporean pianist Li Churen in the demanding solo role. From the intent and demeanour of its opening chords on the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand, one could tell the confident and self-assured Li was going to put her personal stamp on the old warhorse."
5 SEP 2017
Straits Times Singapore: Pianist Li Churen goes for big meals before a performance
"Li Churen faced a tough choice at age 16: follow convention and climb the academic ladder or follow her heart and train as a concert pianist?"
9 AUG 2016
Bachtrack: Han-Na Chang conducts familiar favourites as the Singapore Symphony's new season opens
Li was a graduate from Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, and has garnered master’s degrees in music and philosophy from Yale and Cambridge respectively. Academic achievements aside, her full-blooded approach to the Grieg had much to recommend. Hers was not just a performance of utmost virtuosity but one full of nuances as well. Keen awareness for the music’s inner poetry sat cheek-by-jowl with the requisite barnstorming, not least in the first movement’s Lisztian cadenza. The slow movement’s muted strings ushered in heart-on-sleeve emoting by Li before the finale’s bounding Halling dance. There was a brief lapse of synchronicity but that was shrugged off without issue, the grandstanding close being what what mattered most. Her lovely encore was retiring in stark contrast, Dobrou noc ! (Good Night!) from Janacek’s On an Overgrown Path.
Credit must also go to Korean guest conductor Han-Na Chang, former child prodigy cellist, for her mastery of fine orchestral detail, which would also influence the performance of Grieg’s evergreen Piano Concerto in A minor that followed. It is often said that all conductors will sleepwalk through this work. Not so this evening, as her astute marshalling of the orchestral forces paved the way for Singaporean pianist Churen Li’s showcase.
18 July 2022
Straits Times (Singapore): Han-na Chang, Churen Li play it safe with Beethoven, Grieg
Pianist Churen Li has developed into a well-rounded, versatile performer, and her very committed, physical approach in the concerto was most successful. She navigated the passages reminiscent of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt comfortably, producing ample tone to match the full orchestra. There was sensitivity in the lyrical second movement, and great vitality in the last movement, although the Norwegian dances could have done with greater lightness. There were some lovely chamber-like exchanges between the piano and orchestra soloists throughout the concerto
18 July 2022
EPHEMORY / CHUREN LI, Piano / Review
A graduate of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Li also received further degrees from Yale and Cambridge Universities. She is a serious concert pianist, with repertoire ranging from the Baroque, Beethoven, Rachmaninov to George Crumb, also involving extended keyboard techniques. As a composer, her style is however a comfortable cross between classical and pop, encompassing improvisation, minimalism and New Age styles often encountered in film music.
All the performances are vividly recorded, and the slick packaging resembles a pop or crossover album. Churen Li has undoubtedly more inventive ideas up her sleeves, and one looks forward to her next CD, hopefully to be a long-playing one.
24 June 2022
EPHEMORY / CHUREN LI Piano Recital / Review
The sad thing about music and musicians is how often we dichotomise the genre as classical or non-classical / pop / jazz / folk / crossover and other pigeon-holes. These have little to do with music but rather to satisfy limited world-views of the narrow-minded. Why shouldn’t a classical musician be allowed to play jazz, or why can’t a jazz musician be taken seriously in classical music? All this does not make real sense, until one encounters the geniuses that are Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Friedrich Gulda. They are simply unboxable musical personalities. In the local context, I will give a shout out for Churen Li, who is the closest thing I know to be the “complete pianist”.
1 June 2022
CANDLELIGHT CONCERT: VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL / LI CHUREN, Piano / Review
"Churen is an artist who would make a grocery list or tax report sound positively inviting. It should be noted that all the pop songs were transcribed by Churen herself, and were different in styles and tastefully done. Her versatility was matched by the virtuosity displayed in the Liszt cadenzas, which were tossed off effortlessly. Many people can play this Liebesträume, but only the best can overcome those scintillating finger-twisters."
15 February 2022
CANDLELIGHT CONCERTS: CHOPIN'S BEST WORKS / Li Churen, Piano / Review
"It was a great way to end, and Churen’s encore, an original work called Llama’s Land – beginning with a gentle waltz but gradually building up into a lively fantasy – showed her to be an excellent composer as well. Some years ago, I referred to her in a review as the “epitome of poise and polish”. Now let me now add “passion” to that list of superlatives."
10 MAY 2021
PRESS RELEASE: 27th Edition Of Singapore International Piano Festival To Take Place In 2021
"The 27th edition of the annual Singapore International Piano Festival takes place 3-6 June this year, featuring four virtuoso pianists and a broad scope of musical works."
6 APR 2021