Chinese pianist Di Xiao is already making a name for herself with sell-out concerts in many of Europe’s most prestigious venues and a triumphant tour of China, as well as two recordings. Her debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall was a programme conjuring up images of moonlight while “illuminating other byways along the way”.

Di Xiao opened with Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 27 No. 2, famously nicknamed the ‘Moonlight’, the first piano sonata in the history of the genre to begin with a slow movement, and doubly revolutionary in its construction: a prophetic theme built on a single note. Xiao was careful to highlight the hypnotic simplicity of the theme with a nicely-paced, yet dreamy metre and a soft tone. The second movement was elegantly executed, but its tempo was somewhat reined in so that the rustic elements of the music were a little lost. In the final movement, she gave us plenty of power and forward propulsion. There were a few anxious moments, perhaps an indication of the awesome responsibility of playing at the Wigmore Hall for the first time.

She seemed far more at ease with music from her homeland, two ‘Moon Songs’ by Chinese composers Wencheng Lü and Guang Ren, which were folksy and atmospheric evocations of moonlight on a lake and clouds passing across the moon. Shimmering passage work and playful hands brought these pieces beautifully and convincingly to life.

The Chopin Ballade No. 4 started well, its opening measures limpid and shapely, but despite her very confident playing, Di Xiao seemed a little lost in the complexity of this music as the piece progressed.

The second half was all French, with music by Messiaen and Ravel, a composer with whom Xiao clearly has an affinity. As in the Chinese pieces, she was more comfortable in the impressionistic sound-world of Ravel’s Miroirs (‘Reflections’), bringing colour and character to each vignette, from the moody Noctuelles to the rippling waves and undertows of Une barque sur l'océan. The Alborada del gracioso was rhythmic and lively, while in La vallée des cloches sounds pealed into the hall.

Messiaen composed his eight Preludes in 1928 and 1929, and their titles suggest the direct influence of Debussy and Ravel. Xiao gave convincing and affecting readings of three of the Preludes: in La Colombe we heard the fluttering and cooing of doves, in Les sons impalpables du reve the mysterious and sensual sounds of dreams, and in Un reflet dans le vent, the ripples and gusts of the wind.

Two encores followed, Sibelius’s Impromptu (the fifth from his Opus 5), a graceful chorale-like melody over rippling semiquavers, played with a lovely translucence, and another Chinese piece, Shepherd Boy Playing His Little Flute, which was charming and naïve.