“Lu is surely one of the most exciting prospects in a long time. A veritable poet of the keyboard.” The Guardian
Eric Lu, the 21-year-old Chinese-American pianist who won the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition, has signed an exclusive contact with Warner Classics. His first release under the new contract will be a recital of Chopin (24 Preludes), Schumann (‘Ghost’ Variations) and Brahms (Intermezzo No.1).
This will be his second album for the label, following last autumn’s release of his interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, recorded live at the Leeds International Piano Competition with the Hallé and conductor Edward Gardner. BBC Music Magazine wrote: “With a truly beautiful tone, an innate understanding of the music’s structure, flow and emotional drives and a warm, genuine, unaffected way of shaping the phrases, it sounds as if he has a wise head on young shoulders; his playing combines that with the best of a youthful, fresh response to these perennially-loved masterpieces … Let’s hope this will be his first recording of many.”
In September 2019, Lu, who studies with Jonathan Biss and Robert McDonald at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, joins BBC Radio 3’s prestigious New Generation Artists scheme, a two-year programme encompassing concerts in London and around the UK, appearances and recordings with the BBC performing groups and studio recordings for Radio 3. On 1st September he makes his debut at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 23 with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Long Yu. His 2019/20 season includes debuts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony and St Petersburg Philharmonic, a UK tour with the Orchestre National de Lille and recitals at the Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Wigmore Hall (London), BOZAR (Brussels), Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Philharmonie Luxembourg and Gewandhaus Leipzig.
“It’s a great honour to record for Warner Classics – a label with a back catalogue of legendary recordings, many of which were part of my own musical upbringing,” says Eric Lu. “The Warner team were incredibly supportive following the Leeds Competition, and I’m looking forward to starting this new chapter in our relationship with repertoire that’s close to my heart”.
As Patrick Lemanski, Director of Classics at Warner Music UK, explains: “I went to the finals at Leeds having watched the rest of the competition online, so I was convinced that Eric Lu was a pianist of high artistic integrity. When he came onto the stage with his air of determined calmness and that inner smile, I knew something even more intense was about to take place. The way he played Beethoven’s 4th Concerto was so evidently moving that I knew his performance was not just about technique and virtuosity: I was in the presence of a new magician of the keyboard. It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Eric to our Warner family of artists and we look forward to many projects to come.”
Warner Classics & Askonas Holt partner to welcome Eric Lu to their respective rosters.
"Artistry of that kind is rare in pianists of any age; to find it in a 20-year old is simply astounding"
The Daily Telegraph
Warner Classics and Askonas Holt are proud to announce the signing of 20-year old American pianist, Eric Lu, winner and Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medallist at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition 2018. As part of this year’s coveted prize the winner receives worldwide management with Askonas Holt and an international album release on Warner Classics. This is the first time a record label and a management agency partner with ‘The Leeds’ to create a ground-breaking portfolio prize designed with long-term career development in mind. The recording deal is a corner-stone of its new prize package, designed to redefine what a music competition can offer young performers. Both, Warner Classics and Askonas Holt, aim to ensure that the winner has the opportunities, support and advice to develop a significant long-term international career.
Adam Gatehouse, Co-Artistic Director of ‘The Leeds’, said: "I am thrilled that Eric Lu has been chosen as the winner of the 2018 Leeds International Competition. He is a true musician. His playing shone out from the very first round and I am delighted that our new partners Warner Classics and Askonas Holt are on board to develop Eric’s concert and recording career together. I'm looking forward to his first album on the label in November."
Gaetan Le Divelec, Director at Askonas Holt said: “It has been a pleasure to be associated with “The Leeds” this year, our first ever partnership with an international competition. The array of talent was extraordinary, right from the first round. We are delighted that this year’s winner, Eric Lu, will be joining our roster. His performances throughout the contest displayed a maturity beyond his years, and we are both humbled and excited at the perspective of working with Eric and our colleagues at Warner Classics to develop his career over the years to come.”
Alain Lanceron, President of Warner Classics & Erato said, “Eric is an extraordinary young artist with truly global potential. We are excited to be working together with our friends at Askonas Holt to bring the exceptional pianistic talent of ‘The Leeds’ to audiences around the world. At Warner Classics we have a commitment in nurturing young artists and Askonas Holt are the ideal partner in this endeavour.”
On Friday 21st September, Warner Classics releases a digital single of Eric Lu’s performance of the First movement from Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.2, available on all digital platforms for streaming and download. The album, to be launched worldwide in physical and digital formats on Friday 2nd November, will include his Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 performance from the Final with the Hallé conducted by Edward Gardner (Lu is also the Terence Judd Hallé Orchestra Prize winner), as well as Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 and Chopin’s Ballade No.4 recorded from the earlier rounds. The album has been remastered from Medici.tv’s high-quality audio footage of all of the Competition performances made possible by invaluable support from the University of Leeds. On Thursday, 20th September, Lu opens the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58. The prize also includes a host of performance engagements with high profile promoters, including with some of the world’s premier venues and orchestras, such as London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, the Hallé and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras.
Every stage of the competition is available to watch at leedspiano2018.medici.tv