LI Biao is one of the few artists in the world of classical music who can successfully be a conductor and performer at the same time. Since LI Biao appeared on stage as a conductor, his conducting career has developed rapidly in the past few years. He got inspiration and support from learning experiences with masters Christoph Eschenbach and Lawrence Foster.
In 2020, he took up the positions of the artistic director and permanent principal conductor of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra. Meanwhile, he continues to serve as a professor at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, artistic director of the NCPA International Percussion Festival, and chief guest conductor of the National Philharmonic of Russia.
LI Biao was born in Nanjing, China, and began studying music at the age of five. In 1982, he entered the Central Conservatory of Music Middle School. When he graduated in 1988, as the first government-sponsored percussion major student in People's Republic of China, he was selected by the Ministry of Culture and sent to the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory to study with Professor Slukiyev. Upon graduation, he received the Russian national first-level music master's diploma and the gold graduation medal of Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1995, he received a scholarship from the German National Cultural Foundation and received the Master’s degree under the guidance of Professor Peter Sadlo from the Hochschule für Musik und Theatre München. When LI Biao was still a student, he had won many awards in various music competitions, including silver medal in the first International Dabrechen Music Competition. He is the world's first Chinese percussionist who won an international music competition.
LI Biao has performed in many world-renowned music festivals and has cooperated with many orchestras around the world, such as Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, Arena di Verona, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Lyon Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Opéra national de Montpellier, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic，Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Macau Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, etc. He has collaborated with many musicians, such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, Jonathan Nott, Fabio Luisi, etc. He has performed in more than 70 countries and regions.
At the invitation of the Central Conservatory of Music, LI became the youngest professor and doctoral supervisor of the school at the age of 34 in 2003. In 2006, he became a tenured professor by Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and became the first Chinese musician hired as a tenured professor in the world's top-tier art institution.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics, he was invited to perform and pre-record the music of the closing ceremony.
In 2008 and 2009, LI led his orchestra to complete a tour around 12 cities in China. During April and May in 2009, he performed 32 concerts in eight countries in Europe.
In 2008, LI was awarded the "National Spiritual Creator Honor Award" by Benz Auto-AMG-Life Magazine, and in 2009 he was awarded "China's Classic Successful Person of the Year" in 2009 by BAZAAR Men's Style.
Since 2010, LI has been invited to serve as music director of the Mercedes-Benz International Music Festival and the NCPA International Percussion Festival.
From May to June 2014, LI led his orchestra to go on the South American stage for the first time and went on a three-week grand tour, stopping at many famous theatres in South America, such as National Theatre of Uruguay, Municipal Theatre of Santiago, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Teatro Colón, Sala São Paulo, and Teatro municipal Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. Their performances were loved by South American audiences.
In May 2017, as a percussion soloist, LI participated in “Millennial Road”, the theatrical performance for Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
In 2018, LI performed at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg, Germany, and became the first Chinese musician that performed there. In the same year, LI Biao toured Copenhagen and Asia with the famous conductor Fabio Luisi and Danish National Symphony Orchestra. LI has performed many times in Europe's most influential classical music column programme Value Classical Music. He has recorded nine records for EMI and other world-renowned record companies. In 2015, he became a Sony Music contract artist.
In 2013, as the first Chinese conductor, LI was invited to conduct the Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic at the opening concert of the "Verdi’s 200th Anniversary Music Festival" in Italy. This performance was highly praised by Italian media. He was invited to lead the famous Orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Parma to tour New Year's concerts in five major cities in China. In the 2016/17 music season, LI once again conducted Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, and for the first time cooperated with Theatre Orchester Biel Solothurn and Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava. He also conducted The National Philharmonic of Russia’s first performance in China held in NCPA’s Concert Hall. In January 2017, LI once again teamed up with Brandenburg Sinfonia for a New Year's concert tour, and for the first time conducted a full set of Beethoven Symphony Concert Series in Germany in collaboration with the orchestra.
During the 2017/18 music season, LI conducted The National Philharmonic of Russia at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow in October 2017 and the concert was broadcasted worldwide. He also conducted the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra at Thessaloniki Concert Hall. In the same month, LI conducted Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra at the opening concert of the Christmas Art Festival at the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Hall, and led the group to complete its first Chinese music tour in the 2017/18 New Year Concert Season. In 2018, LI’s cooperation with the orchestras was closer and more frequent. He collaborated with the China NCPA Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Russian National Orchestra, South Korean KBS Symphony Orchestra, and many other international symphony orchestras.
"LI Biao's music rushes towards you like a surge, and every corner of the concert hall is moved by him."- La Repubblica (Italy)
"Unsurpassable brilliance"- Krone (Austria)
"It brings tears to the audience’s eyes with the shock that language can't describe."- Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)
"Unimaginable Skills"-Budapest Daily (Hungary)
"Percussion that can move you to tears"- Classical Music Magazine（Germany）