Decca Classics today announces its youngest ever signing – Australian-Chinese violin sensation Christian Li. Like many other 12-year-old boys, Christian enjoys swimming, football and reading, and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of his home in Melbourne. But quite unlike most pre-teens, Christian’s gift for the violin surpasses that of even the most skilled soloist.
Born in Melbourne in 2007, Christian first picked up a violin aged five. He came to international attention in 2018 when he became the youngest-ever winner of theMenuhin Competition, winning the joint Junior 1st Prize in Geneva, aged only ten. Christian performed a movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with a professional orchestra, play-conducting from the violin. The video of his performance has since achieved millions of views on YouTube.
For his first Decca Classics release, Christian has recorded the fiendishly difficult ‘La ronde des lutins’ (Dance of the Goblins) by Italian composer and violinist Antonio Bazzini, brimming with technical complexities designed to show off the instrument to its full advantage. Other violinists who have recorded this work include Itzhak Perlman, Christian’s hero Maxim Vengerov and Yehudi Menuhin, three world-famous artists celebrated for their skill and soloistic capabilities.
Speaking in-between his Year 7 lessons, Christian expressed his excitement at being able to share his new track with the world: "I’m so excited to have signed to Decca Classics just after my 12th birthday, and to be releasing my very first recording! I love playing the violin, and really hope you enjoy listening.”
Helen Lewis, Executive Producer at Decca Classics, added: “It’s wonderful to welcome Christian to the Decca Classics family, as he follows in the footsteps of the many great international violinists we have championed throughout our label’s ninety year history. Christian’s musicianship and technical mastery of his instrument at such a young age is truly astounding, and all of us at Decca look forward to supporting him on the exciting journey ahead.”
With a dream to be a touring soloist with the world’s greatest orchestras, Christian enjoys a pre-concert banana to keep his energy levels up, and finds any nerves disappear once he steps out onto the stage. He enjoys listening to movie soundtracks by composer John Williams, watching sci-fi films about space exploration and reading the Harry Potter series. Christian also speaks Mandarin, which he practises at home with his parents.
At the age of nine, Christian won First Prize in the violin category of the Young Artist Semper Music International Competition in Italy and gave many solo and chamber music performances as part of the Semper Music International Festival and Summer Academy. He also performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in the American Protégé Showcase 10th Anniversary concert. In 2014 he won First Prize in the “Golden Beijing” violin competition in China and in 2013, aged just five, Christian was chosen for a TV commercial in China that features him playing the violin.
In 2019 Christian made acclaimed debuts with the with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in front of an audience of 10,000 and with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra at the Sydney City Recital Hall and the Melbourne Recital Centre. He also gave UK debut recitals at the Cheltenham, Harrogate and Gower International Festivals and performed in Tel Aviv and Norway. Future performances include recitals and performances with orchestras in Australia, Europe, Israel and the USA, and an invitation to the 2020 Australian Festival of ChamberMusic where he will perform with British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
Christian studies with Dr Robin Wilson, Head of Violin at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne and plays on a rare 3/4 size violin made by Dom Nicolo Amati in 1733, on generous loan from Reuning & Son Violins Boston, and a rare 19th century bow made by Pierre Simon, on loan from Florian Leonard Fine Violins, London.
‘La Ronde Des Lutins’ is out now on Decca Classics. Christian will release further tracks throughout 2020, to be announced soon.