Li Jian is a renowned pianist and conductor. He is also the Artistic Director of the Musicians Emergency Fund of New York, the Vice President of the Piano Society of the Chinese Musicians Association and Artistic Director of “Spaceless Chamber Series”.

Born into a musical family in Shanghai, Li Jian began his music studies at age five, studying piano with Hong Teng, and violin with his mother, the noted violinist Yu Lina. He later continued his piano study with Hong Teng at the middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

At 16, Li Jian was the youngest competitor and Grand Prize Winner in the Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris – an honor which led to the invitation from the French Government and the Samson François Foundation for him to study at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, with Pierre Sancan, then Li started his performing career in Europe. Praised by Le Monde, “He playing was as delicate as it was passionate, and his enticing tone-color gave full justice to his incomparable musical talents.” The documentary about Li Jian and famous violinist Cho-Liang Lin, produced by TV MAN UNION, was awarded as the Documentary of the Year of 1983 in Japan.

In 1985, Li Jian studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, with the legendary Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and praised by Horszowski as “a solo performer facing a brilliant career”; praised by Rudolf Serkin as “a brilliant virtuoso and apparently in complete control of the instrument” of “his extraordinary qualities as a pianist”.

In 1987, Li Jian toured with China National Symphony Orchestra in 30 cities of United States. His artistry was acclaimed by audiences and the renowned violinist Issac Stern. Hailed by New York Times “The most fascinating meeting of East and West came in Ravel’s Concerto in G with the young pianist Li Jian… What an opportunity to learn it was – this remote and strangely beautiful performance bringing from a great distance fresh new reflection.” Li Jian’s solo engagements have included appearances with the Berlin Radio Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestre national de France, the Atlanta Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist, he has performed in such prestigious venues as Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Theatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Hall in Osaka and Berlin Philharmonic Hall. In 1989, as the first musician from Mainland, Li Jian visited Taiwan to perform, which became the headline news of newspapers and TV stations.

Sought after also as an active chamber musician, Li Jian has shared the stage with numerous artists. Collaborative highlights included performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Cho-Liang Lin, Anne Akiko Meyers, and Kyoko Takezawa, among others. He won the first prize in the China Composition and Performance Competition, and is a multiple awards winner of the Musicians Emergency Fund of New York. Li Jian played as the youngest artist at a grand ceremony welcoming the then US President Jimmy Carter. As a pianist who has always been devoted to chamber music, he has organized a series of “Private Chamber Music Salons” in Shanghai starting from 2020, and “Spaceless Chamber Series” for public since 2021 at Shanghai New Union Church on the Bund. Li Jian not only performs regularly in these series, but also devotes to the programming of the series and arranging the music. This project is highly acclaimed by audiences and media.

As conductor, Li Jian was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Hunan Symphony Orchestra of China from 2002 to 2008, after being associate conductor of the New Jersey State Opera in America from 1999 to 2002. His repertoires include Aida, Macbett, Andrea Chénier, Madame Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and etc. He was associate conductor of the 2000 production of Verdi’s “Aida” in Shanghai Stadium, which was attended by over 100,000 audiences. Over the years Li Jian has conducted various orchestras, such as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s of New York, the Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra of Japan, the Romanian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as many major orchestras in China. He was chief conductor of the Romanian National Radio Symphony Orchestra on their extensive tour of Asia. In 2017, Li Jian toured China with Chœur & Orchestre Sorbonne Université de Paris, conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, in venues such as the Shanghai Grand Theater.

In addition to his active performing, Li Jian has served on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music from 1995 to 2001. From 2009 to 2018, he was Director and Professor of Piano Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Li Jian has also served as a jury member of the Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition, the Busoni International Piano Competition, the Santander International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, the China International Piano Competition, the Shanghai International Piano Competition, and the Top of the World International Piano Competition. He has been the Distinguished Professor of Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts since 2019. Since then, he started to tour Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Piano Sonatas in China.

Li Jian has made more than a dozen of albums for various recording labels such as EMI, BMG, Audiofon, and Elite Music. His future recording plan includes Beethoven’s Thirty-Two Piano Sonatas and French impressionist works among others.