Among the 44 participants selected to compete in the world’s foremost international competition for young violinists this year, Australian Christian Li is one of the youngest at just ten years old. Placed in the junior pool of competitors at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, Li will bring with him a repertoire that includes the first two movements from Bach’s Sonata No 4, an improvisation on Wieniawski’s Etude-Caprice, and a selection of Dvořák’s Romantic Pieces.
“I am so happy to know that I was selected to take part in the Menuhin Competition,” Li said in a video. “Since I am still young, I would like to treat this as a fun, exciting learning experience more than a competition. What I most look forward to is the chance to meet my heroes and favourite violin masters in person, and play in front of them. I am also looking forward to meeting and learning from the other outstanding violinists from other parts of the world, and to make life-long friends.”
Li began violin lessons at the age of five, and currently studies with Dr Robin Wilson, Head of Violin at the Australian National Academy of Music. In July last year Li won First Prize in the Young Artist Semper Music International Competition in Italy, and was chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall in the American Protégé Showcase 10-year Anniversary concert. Li has performed in masterclasses with Professor Boris Kuschnir and chamber music is a particular passion of his.
The Menuhin Competition, founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1983, has seen the likes of Tasmin Little, Ilya Gringolts, Ray Chen and Jennifer Pike compete for prestigious concert opportunities, courses, instrument loans, and lucrative cash prizes. The emphasis is on an atmosphere of cultural exchange and collaborative learning, with this year’s participants drawn from 16 countries and five continents, representing 17 nationalities.
“This is going to be an exceptional event in Geneva!” said Gordon Back, Artistic Director of the Menuhin Competition. “The pre-selection jury and I were particularly impressed by the technical and artistic level of the candidates. For the youngest among them, the Competition will be their first international experience, and we are absolutely delighted to give them the opportunity of participating in this event which is all about cultural connection, exchange and learning.”
The 44 violinists will be split into Junior and Senior groups, and will compete in front of a public audience and before an international jury comprised of nine internationally acclaimed musicians – Chairperson Pamela Frank, Vice Chair Joji Hattori, Itamar Golan, Ilya Gringolts, Henning Kraggerud, Lu Siqing, Josef Špaček, Maxim Vengerov and Soyoung Yoon.
Participants will also get the chance to participate in a range of masterclasses, activities, talks, and a full programme of concerts featuring world-class orchestras and ensembles during their time in the Menuhin Competition. Beginning on April 12 in Geneva, junior finalists will go on to perform with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra and senior finalists with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Winners from both categories will perform in the Closing Gala Concert together with the RPO and Maxim Vengerov.
More information about the Menuhin Competition here.