Australian violinist Christian Li has made history at the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in Geneva as the youngest ever winner of the Junior First Prize, taking out equal first with 11-year-old Chloe Chua from Singapore. This is the first time in the Competition’s history that a joint first prize has been awarded. Li and Chua were the youngest of the finalists, competing against Clara Shen (12), Hina Khuong-Huu (13), Guido Sant’Anna (12) and Ruibing Liu (13).

Christian Li and Chloe Chua at the Menuhin Competition. Photo © Olivier Miche Photography

Li, who performed Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons alongside Jaehyuck Choi’s newly commissioned work Self in Mind in the final round with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, also took out the Audience Prize. “I feel very surprised and excited! And thankful to my teacher,” Li told Limelight. “It was an honour to play with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra in Victoria Hall.”

In addition to 10,000 Swiss Francs worth of prize money, Li and Chua will each be granted a one year loan of an Italian violin by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins. Both violinists performed alongside the Senior Competition winner, 18-year-old Armenian violinist Diana Adamyan, in the Competition’s Closing Gala Concert on Sunday with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Julian Rachlin.

The jury of the 2018 Menuhin Competition, which attracted 317 entries representing 51 nationalities, was chaired by American violinist Pamela Frank and comprised of Joji Hattori, Itamar Golan, Ilya Gringolts, Henning Kraggerud, Lu Siqing, Josef Špaček, Maxim Vengerov and Soyoung Yoon.