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Youngest artist ever to record Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

13-year-old violinist Christian Li joins the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on a new recording for Decca Classics

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Christian Li is about to become the youngest artist ever to record Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The 13-year-old Australian-Chinese violinist is set to record his debut album featuring Vivaldi’s four concertos on Decca Classics, the first recording of the work in 17 years following Janine Jansen’s 2004 recording, which we included in our round-up of the best recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons of all time.

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Li will be directing an ensemble comprising members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in this work, which he has played many times before. It was with ‘Summer’ that he won the Menuhin Competition in 2018, winning the joint junior first prize at the age of just ten. Since then, his performance of the piece has clocked up 1.75 million views on YouTube.

‘It’s dramatic and poetic,’ says Li of the work. ‘I can use the music to tell the poems’ storylines.’

As well as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Li’s debut album will feature ‘Fisherman’s Harvest Song’, a traditional folk tune adapted by the Chinese composer Li Zili; Bazzini’s La Ronde des Lutins, a notoriously difficult work for violin and piano; Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois and Massanet’s Méditation from Thaïs.

Who is Christian Li and how old is he?

Violinist Christian Li was born in 2007 and began learning the violin at the age of five, making his solo debut at the age of nine with the Australasian Orchestra and his concerto debut at ten, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Orchestra Victoria.

After winning the junior prize at the 2018 Menuhin Competition, he made debuts with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. He plays on a 1737 ex-Paulsen Guarneri del Gesù violin. Guarneri and Stradivari violins remain the most valuable in the world.

Christian Li’s debut recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons will be released on Decca Classics on 20 August 2021.

Read our review of Janine Jansen’s 2004 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on Decca Classics here.

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