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Remarks by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at Yundi Li's Piano Recital Hosted by the Chinese Embassy
22 February 2012

Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt,

Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans,

Chairman Kassler,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy.

Tonight we will share together a great music.

We will have the pleasure of enjoying a performance from Yundi Li, a world famous Chinese pianist.

This is the first time in many years for us to stage a concert at the Chinese Embassy. I am delighted my Embassy can host a recital that is truly world class, thanks to the talents of Yundi Li.

I had the pleasure to attend a concert by Yundi Li in London two years ago. That was the first concert I went to since I came to London. So I have a clear idea about the musical treat we will be given this evening.

I'm sure many of you know Yundi very well. He was born in the early 1980s and grew up in the years of China's reform and opening-up.

Yundi's great talent was recognized at an early stage. He won this in 2000. He became the youngest Chinese player ever to win the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition.

Since 2000 Yundi has won world-wide popularity. He has performed in the most prestigious concert halls. His beautiful and poetic rendition of musical masterpieces has won much acclaim from his global audience.

Yundi's success bears witness to how far China has come in the past 30 years. It also shows that China's development is comprehensive in nature.

For us, economic development is not the only thing that matters. Development of culture is important too. Our people have been able to enjoy much better lives both in the material sense and in terms of cultural refinement.

What strikes me most about Yundi is not only his mastery of western music, but also his deep passion for traditional Chinese music.

China's musical history goes a long way back.

· The earliest musical instrument according to historical records was TAOXUN, with a history of over 6,000 years.

· The first government office for music, YUEFU, was created over 2,000 years ago.

· The earliest surviving GUQIN music was composed 1,500 years ago.

Music knows no borders. Music links the world through shared pleasures.

It is through his music that Yundi has been a good ambassador for building understanding between China and the world.

In 2011, he released his first Chinese music album called The Red Piano.

This year, Yundi plans to set out on a global 'Red Piano' tour.

His hope is to give new meaning to China's classical music. In this way it is Yundi's wish to promote a better understating of China's profound culture.

This year marks 40 years of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic relations.

This 40-year journey is extraordinary. We have together built up a strong partnership that has covered all fields.

Also this evening is symbolic. There is a growing recognition that culture has become a big part of China-UK relations.

This concert is a tribute to 40 years of our full diplomatic relations. As importantly, we hope the concert will inspire all of us to work even harder to strengthen China-UK cultural exchanges. This will, in turn, contribute to greater mutual understanding and closer cooperation.

To conclude, I want to thank EMI Music and Bank of China (UK) for their kind support.

I wish Yundi a successful performance tonight. And I wish all of you a great evening.

Thank you!

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