Matthew Ming Li

Solo & Collaborative pianist

I’m back!

After a brief period of hiatus, I’m finally back to some regular practicing! This time I am looking back in the year 2008, when I graduated from UBC. My then piano professor, Sara Davis Buechner, gave me a parting gift of an old book titled “Master School of Virtuoso Piano Playing, Vol. 1” by the Spanish-American pianist, Alberto Jonás. Inside was a collection of very challenging finger exercises and notes from various respected pianists and pedagogues from 19th and 20th century. The seemingly endless myriad of virtuosic studies made me shudder to imagine that this out-of-print series has 7 volumes in total! After studying a few of these exercises during the course of my graduate studies, I slowly began to discover the genius of the author behind this massive collection:

“There are no ‘daily exercises’ […] If a certain exercise exerts an especially beneficial effect, by all means practice it, but only as long as you feel that a benefit is derived, as long as your mind is pleasurably intent on this exercise, for the one and only reason that you feel the good it is doing you.”

I am delighted to find out a few years later that first two volumes of “Master School” was being republished under Dover publication, and my professor was behind it! I look forward to let the wisdom of Alberto Jonás fuel my practice sessions for the next little while!


After years of hard work, I’ve finally completed and successfully defended my thesis! Time to get back to full-time practicing and concertizing! Stay tuned for upcoming concerts!

Writing, writing, more concerts, back to infinitum

This pretty much sums up what I have been doing since March. The endless process of extending and editing the longest paper I've ever written is certainly not for the faint of heart. I have never been an efficient or prolific writer (as perfectly demonstrated by the scarcity of posts in this blog). Until the final draft of my thesis is submitted, this is pretty much my life. As for the concert portion of this endless cycle, and subsequently the activity that keeps me sane, here it is!

This one is for my friends in the Greater Vancouver Area. I will be giving a duo recital with the Ukrainian violinist, Yuri Zaidenberg, on Thursday, May 17th at the Silk Purse Arts Centre in West Vancouver. We are celebrating the charm of Viennese music and will be featuring short pieces by Mozart and Kreisler, as well as the G major Sonata for Violin and Piano by Johannes Brahms. This should be a delightful start of your Thursday morning, as the concert starts at 10:30am. Please visit the official site to register for the event (click here). Tickets at $17.

(Self-promo over, back to writing...)

4-Hands at St. Andrew's

Another post in almost 2 months! It'll become more regular someday...but at this point, better late than never. This will be yet another concert announcement, but this time it is for my friends in Toronto.

I will be returning in the middle of March to give a concert at the famous Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano at St. Andrew's Church! To take advantage of this 97-key glory (yes that's right, subcontra C, baby!), I will be joining a fellow Toronto pianist (and my go-to drinking buddy), Dr. Younggun Kim.

We will be playing a total of three works written for 4-hands. Programme below:

Bach/Reger: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048

Brahms: Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 23

Kapustin: Sinfonietta, Op. 49

Time: 12pm

Location: St. Andrew's Church (73 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON)

Hope to see you there! ADMISSION FREE!

New year, new concerts!

What's my new year's resolution? Update this blog more often is definitely one of them! I have been busy writing my doctorate thesis since the summer and needed to be off the grid for a while. Good news is that I've finally finished writing and have submitted it just before this past Christmas!

Now that I can get back to practicing, I am pleased to announce my upcoming performances at the end of January with the Torontonian soprano, Clarisse Tonigussi! We will be performing an hour-long art song program dedicated to Canadian female composers from throughout the 20th century. The two recitals are part of the nation-wide tour of the Canadian Women Composers Project that started last June. Details of the two recitals are below:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

St. Francis-in-the-Wood Church

4773 Piccadilly Road West

West Vancouver, British Columbia


Facebook Event (click here)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Point Artist-Run Centre

5678 Alta Lake Road

Whistler, British Columbia


Facebook Event (click here)

For more information on the CWC Project, please visit:

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Working with a composer

Yesterday I had the opportunity to collaborate with the renowned Canadian composer, Walter Buczynski. We spent nearly four hours working on his latest sonatas for solo piano! What an amazing experience it was! I'm absolutely blown away by Mr. and Mrs. Buczynski's generosity and kindness. I'm really looking forward to further meetings in the near future and eventually, the world premiere of these pieces. Stay tuned for updates!

New, updated website

Hello everyone! After an extended period of online inactivity, I was finally able to upgrade my official website, and it is up and running! The new site will include many new contents including listening samples, links to my official YouTube, Facebook and Twitter page, as well as a blog page that I will try to update as often as I can. Go have a look around and have fun!