Ill pianist cancels concerts

Posted: November 14, 2002

Don't look for Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes at tonight's Philadelphia Orchestra concert at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Due to illness, he canceled his Thursday-through-Saturday concerts, where he was to perform Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 2.

Efforts were made to replace him with the 20-year-old Chinese pianist Yundi Li, who couldn't be released from concert commitments in Paris. However, the Philadelphia Orchestra is close to confirming what will be Li's U.S. orchestral debut, for July 2003 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

Li won several youth competitions in the U.S., but in 2000 was the first pianist in 15 years to be awarded first prize for the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. His all-Chopin debut recording was issued by Deutsche Grammophon in Europe, and a second, all-Liszt disc is due in March.

In his absence, the concerto portion of the program will be replaced by Grieg's Peer Gynt suite under the direction of guest conductor Osmo Vnsk, who will also conduct Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia espansiva"). Vnsk is making his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Contact David Patrick Stearns at 215-854-4907 or dstearns@phillynews.com.

Performances will be 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. Friday, and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: $10-$122. Information: 215-893-1999 or www.philorch.org.

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