Jenny Li - Pianist & Animator

Jenny Li is a double major student, attending both the Mannes School of Music for piano performance, and the Parsons School of Design for animation. She recently released her latest animated short film, The Blossoming Wish which boasts an abundance of lush, gorgeous nature scenery, and a Ghibli inspired score that she created herself.

My first encounter with Jenny was at a TwoSetViolin concert in Chicago. I was blown away by her performance of Debussy’s Pour le Piano and contacted her for an interview, where I promptly learned that music was only the surface level of her artistic skills.

Photo courtesy of  @musiclee.fotos

Photo courtesy of @musiclee.fotos

Jenny was four years old when she first studied piano in China, progressing quickly through three grades before quitting due to having her wrists rapped with a meter stick. After moving to Canada, she began studying again, this time with Darrel Loewen who made music enjoyable; making funny analogies and dancing in lessons. She moved to New York upon reaching grade seven to take lessons from Vladimir Valjarević with whom she continues to study under. At age thirteen, Jenny performed with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra; an opportunity she credits with making her take practicing seriously. She explained “[Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K414] was the piece that made me connect with the instrument. I felt my playing change. That was the wow moment”.

Jenny enjoys performing with other musicians opposed to soloing, explaining that “music is interacting with other musicians”. She continues to experiment with different ensemble combinations to figure out what sound she likes best— necessary knowledge for the scores she composes for her films.

Since I first followed her on social media, she has always had a new project to post about and she shows snippets of what goes into each. The amount of work that went into The Blossoming Wish is unbelievable but made the end result extra enjoyable. I highly recommend following her on instagram @sdewpearls for your weekly dose of art, whether it be in music or in animation.