13-year-old virtuoso Christian Li becomes youngest ever violinist to record Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

16 August 2021, 13:57

Christian Li plays Vivaldi

By Kyle Macdonald

A young violinist, born in 2007, is reshaping classical music. And he has a talent that’s rarely seen.

Australian Chinese violin virtuoso Christian Li has become the youngest violinist ever to professionally record Vivaldi’s iconic piece of baroque music, The Four Seasons.

The new recording is to be released on the prestigious record label Decca Classics on 20 August.

On the release, he has teamed up with his fellow Down Under music-makers with a specially selected chamber ensemble for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Christian Li plays Chopin

Li was born in Melbourne in 2007. He started playing violin at just five years old. He came to international attention in 2018 when he became the youngest ever winner of the Menuhin Competition, winning the joint Junior 1st Prize in Geneva.

In those competition finals, he performed Summer from Vivaldi’s concerto set. Footage of his performance went viral on Classic FM’s social media, garnering millions of views.

Li says he loves Vivaldi’s music. “It’s dramatic, warm and poetic. I can use the music to tell the poems’ storylines.”

Christian Li and Antonio Vivaldi
Christian Li and Antonio Vivaldi. Picture: IMG & Getty

His favourite movement is Autumn, particularly its final movement: “It has lots of action and excitement. The music depicts hunters on horseback chasing down a stag. You can hear horns, you can hear dogs, you can hear guns firing, and all of these effects are made on the instruments.”

In 2020 Li became the youngest artist ever to sign with Decca Classics and joined the roster of IMG Artists.

His virtuoso capabilities are never in doubt, but for many listeners and viewers, it’s the young violinist’s evident connection to the feeling and emotion of the music that makes his performances really remarkable.

Li performs on the 1737 ex-Paulsen Guarneri del Gesù violin and studies under Dr. Robin Wilson, Head of Violin at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Away from the violin, Christian also enjoys reading, swimming and bike riding.

What an incredible talent.