Years Performed: 1985
Pianist Yin Chengzong is widely recognized as one of the most renowned Chinese pianists in the world. Having concertized in all five continents, Yin has been hailed by the New York Times for showing "... a superior command not only of his instrument but of his musical materials..." A top prize winner of the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition five decades ago, Yin Chengzong is still actively performing around the globe today.
Since his debut in 1983, Yin Chengzong has appeared seven times, performing solo recitals and concerto concerts, at Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium. Frequently performing in Russia, he played in St. Petersburg's Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall, New York's Lincoln Center and Vienna's Golden Hall. Highlights of Yin's 2012-13 season include engagements at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as solo recitals in Toronto, Boston and San Francisco.
Born in Gulangyu, China, Yin Chengzong made his debut solo appearance when he was nine years old. He was accepted by Shanghai Conservatory of Music at twelve, and later was trained at Central Conservatory of music in Beijing. At 17, Yin won first prize at the International Vienna Youth Piano Competition in Austria. He was the 2nd prize winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition when he was 20 years old. Studying at the Leningrad Conservatory, Yin worked with Tatyana Kravchenko during the 1960s. After returning from Russia, he served as the principal soloist with the Central Philharmonic in Beijing for 18 years.
During the Cultural Revolution, piano and Western classical music were forbidden. Yin Chengzong's musical life, like many other Chinese artists, was deeply challenged. Asking the question, "Do people need piano?" Yin with friends, carried a piano by hand, out to the middle of Tiananmen Square in 1967. For three days, he played revolutionary songs, Chinese music and Peking opera. Thousands of people cheered his performances. "He played a heroic role in helping to save the piano from destruction," said Richard Kraus, a political scientist at the University of Oregon and the author of "Pianos and Politics in China," published in 1989.
Inspired by the people, Yin Chengzong studied and researched Chinese traditional opera and ancient music. He created a piano accompaniment for The Legend of the Red Lantern, a modern Peking opera. In 1969, Yin became a household name in China by composing, with collaborators, the Yellow River Piano Concerto, adapted from the Cantata by Xian Xinghai. Yin's recording of the concerto received a platinum award. According to ASCAP, The Yellow River Piano Concerto is broadcast and performed in more than 50 countries every year. Yin has played the concerto more than one thousand performances, including during the Chinese national holidays and Chinese New Year's TV broadcast programs The Yellow River Piano Concerto remains as one of the most popular Chinese piano compositions in China and around the world. Yin's edition of ancient Chinese music which includes "Ambush on All Sides" and "Moonlight Over Spring River" was a great contribution to Chinese piano music literature.
In 1980, Yin Chengzong was listed in the New Grove Dictionary as one of the four most important Chinese artists, along with Nie Er, Xian Xihai and Ma Sicong. Internationally, through the years, Yin has performed under the baton of Eugene Ormandy with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Claudio Abbado with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sir Malcolm Sargent with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1990s, Yin has played hundreds of concerts, solo or with major orchestras, all over China, even transporting his Steinway piano whenever he performed. Presenting standard classical piano works, Yin not only concertizes in China, but has also appeared in Australia, Canada, Germany, Finland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, among others. Being praised as "a poetic philosophical artist...", Yin has been featured on CCTV, CBS Sunday Morning and PhoenixTV.
Having released more than 30 albums, Yin Chengzong can be heard on DR Classics, ABC, Marco Polo, China Records and Moscow labels. His recent recordings are The Yellow River Piano Concerto, The Legend of the Red Lantern, Chinese Ancient Music Album, and Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, as well as piano solo works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Debussy. Playing Liszt's Piano Concerto No.2 and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1, Yin has appeared in several documentary films, including "Blooming of Hundred Flowers", "Piano Accompaniment for the Legend of the Red Lantern", "March! Red China" and "Spring of Music", produced in China, Russia and the United Kingdom.
Since moving to the United States in 1983, a professor and an artist-in-residence, Yin Chengzong has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music. From his studios in New York and China, Yin's students included Lang Lang, Ilya Itin and Edith Chen. Yin is a Steinway Artist. A celebration event for Yin Chengzong's "30th Anniversary Debut at Carnegie Hall" will be held on November 23, 2013.