At the age of 16, Zeyu Victor Li was already wowing Columbia patrons of the university’s premier symphony orchestra. A Free Times reviewer wrote a glowing review of that 2013 concert – “Thrilling, bright, incredibly precise, energetic and athletic. Zeyu’s technique, the precision, pitch accuracy and musical delivery were astonishing.”
The prodigy returns to the Koger stage on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. to play Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor with the USC Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Donald Portnoy. Back by popular demand, the now 18-year-old Chinese violin virtuoso is quickly building an international reputation as one of the most prodigiously gifted young concert soloists to emerge in recent years – praised for his technical mastery, exuberance and calm confidence. Violin virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman called him a genius with a bright future.
Born in Huaunan City, in China, Zeyu Victor Li is a student of respected pedagogue Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute of Music - and is a recent prize winner at the Montreal International Violin Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, in New York.
He will play Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2 on the March concert. The concerto is more conventional than the composer's early bold compositions and begins with a melody related to traditional Russian folk music. About the work, Prokofiev wrote, “The number of places in which I wrote the Concerto shows the kind of nomadic concert-tour life I led then. The main theme of the 1st movement was written in Paris, the first theme of the 2nd movement at Voronezh, the orchestration was finished in Baku and the premiere was given in Madrid.”
This concert also features some of the University of South Carolina School of Music’s top students in solo roles – the winners of the 2014-2015 USC Concerto-Aria Competition. The USC Symphony Orchestra sponsors the annual competition for USC students studying applied music on the Columbia campus.
Levi Cull, timpani, plays Raise the Roof for Timpani and Orchestra by Michael Daugherty; Cera Finney, voice, will sing Donizetti’s “O mio Fernando” from La Favorita; John Siarris, voice, will sing Wagner’s “O du mein holder Abendstern” from Tannhäuser; and Susan Zhang, piano, plays Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb Flat Major.
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Coming up next on April 21 is the Berlioz Requiem with guest artist, tenor Christian Sebek.