A native of Shenzhen, China, TianYi Li was born with a rare heart condition and a weak immune system which made attending school difficult for most of his childhood. Thus, piano became his only friend. TianYi went to study in the United States in his early teens, at Professional Children’s School in New York City, knowing virtually no English. Within six years, he had finished his high school and undergraduate curricula, graduating cum laude from New York University Steinhardt, where he studied piano with Eduardus Halim. During this time, TianYi was awarded Third Prize alongside three other special prizes at the 2017 Tbilisi International Piano Competition, where he had his concerto debut playing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. After finishing his Master of Music studies at the Juilliard School in 2020, he was accepted by the school’s prestigious C.V. Starr Doctoral Program, and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the guidance of Jerome Lowenthal.
As a pedagogue, TianYi maintains an active private studio, where students study piano as well as theory, composition, and music history. He is also a Secondary Piano and Sight-Reading instructor at the Juilliard School, where he works with undergraduate and graduate students to hone their keyboard proficiency.