Deutsche Grammophone announced the signing of an exclusive agreement with Bruce Liu, recently, on World Piano Day.
Winning the International Chopin Piano Competition last fall has changed Bruce Liu’s life forever. The 18th edition of the competition saw the 24-year-old Canadian pianist of Chinese descent shot to fame. His performance worldwide, since then, has been critically acclaimed. “[He] caused a sensation with a recital that married tradition with originality…You don’t always know where Bruce Liu is taking you, but you feel compelled to follow him,” ResMusica said of his Paris debut at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in January.
Delayed by a year because of the pandemic, the 18th edition witnessed a particularly high level of playing. Having made the most of the lockdowns by both reading about Chopin and refreshing his musical palate with works by other composers, Liu continued thinking up new ideas about his interpretations until the very last minute backstage.
He also chose not to listen to his fellow competitors, in order to focus on his own performances. His approach paid off – although he was the last of the twelve finalists to perform, the freshness of his reading of the Concerto in E minor won him a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.
“We’re very excited to welcome Bruce to the Yellow Label. The Chopin Competition and all the concerts he has given since have shown the world an intelligent and dynamic young artist whose pianism, imagination and spontaneity are simply electrifying. He joins fellow Canadian artists Emily D’Angelo, Jan Lisiecki and Yannick Nézet-Séguin here at DG – proof, if such were needed, that Canada today is clearly a hotbed of musical talent.”
— Dr. Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon.
Working in partnership with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Deutsche Grammophon was soon able to issue an album of live recordings captured during the various stages of the competition. The release has earned rave reviews, with Gramophone calling it “one of the most distinguished Chopin recitals of recent years, full of maturity, character and purpose”.
To mark his signing to the Yellow Label, Deutsche Grammophon has released Liu’s recording of Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, KK IVa/16 as an e-single on 1 April.
Further e-singles will follow throughout 2022, and the pianist is also now planning two future albums. One will have a French theme, with repertoire including Chopin and Rameau, reflecting Liu’s desire to explore the music of his birthplace and his personal connections with France. The second will feature Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.2, the work with which he made his UK debut earlier this month.
“I’m thrilled to be joining DG – I love its sense of family! I hope becoming part of that family will give me plenty of opportunities to collaborate with some very talented artists from different musical fields and backgrounds, as well as working with the great team who produced my Chopin Competition album. I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” Bruce Liu said.
Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu was born to Chinese parents in Paris in 1997, and moved with his father to Montreal at the age of six. He speaks fluent Mandarin and grew up surrounded by Chinese culture, but is also quick to acknowledge the influences of his North American upbringing as well as those of the history and musical traditions of Europe.
Between 2011 and 2018 he studied with Richard Raymond at the Montreal Conservatoire, during which time he won the grand prize at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition aged just 15. He is currently a student of Dang Thai Son (winner of the 10th Chopin Competition).
Listen and download Liu’s recording of Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, here.