Pianist Bichuan Li is a seasoned performer known for outstanding musical integrity and a special talent for producing a wide variety of tone colors. Her 1996 debut recital in Sweden was hailed as “superb” and her performance, “flawless.” Reviewing her recital at the Shanghai Concert Hall, the critic of the Jiefang Daily praised “her refined technique and unfailing sensitivity” and found the lyrical passages “extraordinarily beautiful.”
A native of Shanghai, Ms. Li began learning piano at the age of four. Unlike most other accomplished concert pianists, she faced many setbacks in her early years. Her applications to the Shanghai Conservatory were denied again and again—her hands were too small, she came from a politically incorrect family, and, finally, she was too old. Not to be discouraged, she kept on with the piano, although the Cultural Revolution interrupted her studies for ten years. Her passion for the instrument never dimmed, even during that difficult time, and she became a “closet” musician. These early difficulties implanted in her a commitment and maturity that have enriched her extraordinary performing skill.
Ms. Li has been on the faculty at the University of Hawai‘i since 1986. Since 1991, she has also been an Honorary Associate Professor of the Shanghai Teachers’ University where, in 2012, she was invited as a Visiting Professor at the Music College. A Music Teachers’ National Association certified professional piano teacher, she has served twice as President of the Honolulu Piano Teachers’ Association and was President of the Hawaii Music Teachers’ Association from 1998 to 2000.
Ms. Li received her undergraduate degree from the Music College of Shanghai Normal University and her MM in Piano Performance from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her teachers in China included Jisen Fan, Yu Wang, Benjamin Yu, Rongwei Chen, and Mingduo Li; in Hawai‘i she studied with UH Mānoa professors Paul Lyddon and Edward Shipwright.