Christian Li has been awarded the inaugural Nora Goodridge Scholarship to attend the acclaimed Keshet Eilon International String Mastercourse in Israel this year, the Music & Opera Singers Trust has announced. The rising star violinist, who made history last year when he became the youngest ever winner of the Junior First Prize at the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in Geneva at age ten, will spend three works in Israel working with teachers from around the world, taking part in workshops, performing in concerts, and even taking part in a unique archery program designed especially for violinists.

Christian LiChristian Li at the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin Competition. Photo © Olivier Miche

“I feel deeply honoured and privileged to be awarded the Scholarship. I feel proud to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to take part in the Keshet Masterclass,” Li told Limelight. “I am so excited since I know I will meet some famous teachers and a lot of talented young musicians there. I will have the chance to watch great performances and I believe I will enjoy it.”

“I hope to attend [the] masterclasses of different teachers and hear different ideas from teachers in different regions on the music interpretation,” he said.

Late last year, the Australian Friends of Keshet Eilon held a recital showcasing the talents of the 2018 Young Performer of the Year, Emily Sun, with the aim of raising funds to send a gifted Australian musician to Israel for the masterclass. Thanks to Nora Goodridge, the Friends have been able to establish the Nora Goodridge Scholarship, which will see Li travel to Israel as the first recipient.

While this is the first iteration of the Nora Goodridge Scholarship, MOST has had a long relationship with Keshet Eilon and before becoming the administrators of the Young Performers Awards, the organisation offered a prize at the YPA and at the Australian Cello Awards, the Nelly Apt Scholarship, a scholarship for travel, accomodation and fees to and attend the course. Past winners include violinists Lily Higson-Spence, Sophie Rowell and Emily Sun.

Li told Limelight he’s looking forward to the experience. “I like travelling and exploring different cultures,” he said. “This is my first time to Israel, I want to know everything about this country: music, people and religion.”