Yidi Ding, Age 11, The Youngest Steinway Young Artist

April 04 19:31 2023

Almost every pianist in the world wishes to have his or her own Steinway piano, even it becomes a lifelong dream. In addition, to become a Steinway Artist is not only the dream of every pianist, but also an unattainable expectation for most people. The title of Steinway Artist is not only a great honor, but also a recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of piano performance. “Steinway Artist” has become the most authoritative artist qualification in the world.

The Steinway Artist Program began in 1872. To become a Steinway artist, you must meet a set of stringent criteria and a rigorous evaluation process. Steinway & Son, however, shrouds its criteria in secrecy, but we know that only with virtuosity is never enough. So even if you win the grand prizes in some international competitions, you won’t necessarily be crowned the “Steinway Artist”.

However, just in last week, Yidi Ding an 11-year-old pianist won the honor. Yidi received an official letter from the headquarters of Steinway last week: ” I am pleased to officially welcome you to the international family of Young Steinway Artists. In recognition of your significant contributions to the performing arts and the community, you are now formally included on the roster of the most accomplished and discriminating artists such as Martha Argerich, Kenny Barron, Ahmad Jamal, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, and Yuja Wang, as well as musical legends such as Duke Ellington, Vladimir Horowitz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Nina Simone, Rudolf Serkin, and Igor Stravinsky. The complete list of artists can be viewed on www.steinway.com.”

Yidi Ding started learning piano at the age of five and showed amazing talent from the very beginning. In 2017, the “Piano Warm Heart” Yidi Ding Piano Recital was held in the Shanghai Oriental Art Center when he was 6 years old. In the same year, at the invitation of China Records Company, he recorded and released his first CD album. He is now a regular at Carnegie Hall and other prestigious venues. He held a recital at OPERA America’s National Opera Center recently, the tickets of the concert sold out in very a short time, the concert was a huge success, he received standing ovations.

Mr. Lang Lang, one of great pianists in the world, he praised, ” For such a young age, Yidi’s performance is almost seamless, full of innocence and happiness, which brings us infinite beautiful reveries”. The harsh music critics in New York always praised him with all kinds of words, “We can feel the infinite talent and possibility of his performance”, “The most remarkable thing is that his every note shows clear meaning and opinions, full of various colors”. “Yidi, absolutely indeed a musical genius, expresses his emotions with great depth. He has excellent technical control and is able to express his deep thoughts accurately and convincingly.”

Although he is only 11 years old, he has won more than twenty first prizes in piano competitions around the world, such as the Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF) Concerto Competition, the Bravura Philharmonic Young Artists Concerto Competition, the Philadelphia Music Teachers AssociationPHMATmusic competition, the New Jersey Music Teachers Association (NJMAT) Young Musicians Competition, the Global Music and Stars Awards Competition, the Global Outstanding Chinese Artists Association(GOCAA) competition, Vienna International Music Competition, Pearl River Kaiserburg International Youth Piano Competition, Liszt International Youth Piano Competition and so on.

In March 2019, Yidi was admitted to the Juilliard School Pre-College when he was age 7, and become the youngest enrolled students at the time. In 2020, at the age of 8, he was selected as “Young scholar” by the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. With a maturity and a perfect pitch far beyond his peers, he has been highly praised by many famous pianists and world-renowned professors, such as Lang Lang, Gary Graffman, Yoheved Kaplinsky and so on.

In China, his teachers were Keng Zhou and James Brawn. In 2019, Yidi and his family moved to the United States and his teachers include Victoria Mushkatkol, Dmitry Rachmanov,  Meng-Chieh Liu, and Magdalena Stern-Baczewska among others. His composition teacher, Utar Artun is a voting member of the Grammy Award and has been a source of inspiration to Yidi’s composition and music career.

Yidi’s passion for piano also developed into an interest in composition, conducting, and vocals. He recently completed his first piano concerto “Spring”, which was highly praised by Mr. Lang Lang, many professors and Grammy judges.

He is a young pianist who enjoys sharing his music. In May 2020, he was one of the youngest performers invited to participate in the “Transfer Love-Relay Concert of Global Chinese Musicians” organized by China Education Television and Beijing Youth Broadcasting Station. In his spare time, Yidi frequently performs at senior communities, churches, and public events. He hopes to continue sharing his music with those who have never experienced a performance in concert halls.

To apply to be a Steinway Artist, you must be at least 16 years old, otherwise the application materials will not be accepted. Yidi is only 11 years old, so it is almost impossible for him to be judged at such a young age. But anything is possible for a prodigy who won an important piano competition at the age of 6, was accepted to Juilliard at age 7, composed his frist piano concerto at age 11, and kept breaking our conventional thinking. As Ms. Fangfang Pan from Global Chinese Outstanding Artists Association said, “Only few people come to this world to create miracles. Rules are made for ordinary people. Genius is not bound by rules!” In recognition of Yidi’s musical achievements, abilities and great potential, the Steinway Global Artists judges made a major breakthrough. Last year, out of a thousand of outstanding applicants from around the world, Yidi was awarded the “Laurel crown”, he created a miracle in the world once again.

At the age of 11, most children is still in primary school, this energetic, innocent, still fresh-faced teenager is already joined the ranks of elite pianist recognized by Steinway &Sons. We truly feel Yidi Ding’s unique talent, but also his unremitting efforts, we can’t wait to see where his music takes you next!

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