Decca signs 12 year-old kid

The Australian-Chinese violinist Christian Li has signed to the new set-up at Decca.

In 2018 he became the youngest-ever winner of the Menuhin Competition, at the age of 10.

The next David Garrett?

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  • It’s an arguably deserved recognition, but the usual reservations e.g. detriment to future development, degradation towards inane prestidigation etc

  • I saw him perform in Sydney last year and was blown away. It is quite humbling to see a prodigy performing. He is a lovely unafffected kid.

  • Of course the work is a show-off piece for violin virtuosi — but this young artist plays it with impeccably stunning technical control, with a delicious bit of humour, and with pleasure. I was absolutely delighted. His future depends now on the balance his family can give to his human development. As a future star, the future is now.

  • Yes, this boy is very special. This wasn’t just a circus stunt, but mature wizardry of the highest order. Only time will tell if he will develop into a true artist who can speak to us in the language of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, and not just Bazzini.

  • Obviously the Bazzini is his party piece, but the video from the Menuhin finals of him playing a contemporary piece and then Vivaldi Summer (leading the orchestra) is pretty darn impressive.

    (a) He interacts with the orchestra while playing, he doesn’t just stand there and play in front of them like you’d expect a kid to do.

    (b) He seems to enjoy performing — not the same as enjoying showing off. Reminds me of old videos of the young Itzhak Perlman, where you can tell that “in front of a crowd, with a violin in my hands” is his happy place.

    (c) There’s a real musician in there, not just a technical whiz kid.

    I watched another finalist from the Menuhin competition play the same piece and lead the orchestra in Vivaldi’s Winter, and it was much more what you’d expect: mannered phrasing the same every time, mostly ignoring the orchestra or just moving the violin up and down, uniform tone colors. Not slagging on that other finalist — she obviously earned her place in the finals, and is effing good at the violin — but there’s a difference between playing like a gifted child and playing like a young artist.

    Of course, now the question is, what will happen as he grows up? There are so, so many stories of kids this talented who did not go on, for one reason or another — some tragic, some not. Mutter, Perlman, and Midori (who went public about her own issues) are the exceptions, not the rule.

    I wish this kid the best, as an artist and as a human being.

  • Yes the kid is brilliant (but what an awful piece of music!) but I do wish someone around him had the good sense to let him develop as a human being rather than chasing the dollar at such a young age. I can remember Benjamin Grosvenor won the piano at the BBC Young Musician at a similar age but then was allowed to mark time until he matured. He is now a major artist. I hate to see kids – however talented – pushed like this.

    • Chasing the dollar at such a young age? Are you kidding me? Raising a prodigy costs a lot of money and effort. Nobody makes big money with a CD contract anymore. I enjoy his playing. That’s all I can say. I don’t make any judgement on how his parents raise him. They know what’s best for him. But watching him play and interact with the media, I think his parents have done a great job. He’s phenomenally talented, engaging, and modest. Kudos to them.

  • The pianist sounds a little bit too loud most of the time, but the young violinist is certainly very talented. His playing of this piece is as close to perfect as I have ever heard from a preteen. He seems to have all the skills needed to become a truly fine artist if his development continues smoothly during next few years not just as a musician but as a culturally well-rounded human being too. Wishing him well!

  • I found 14 y.o Australian Edward Walton to be better , more musical and Natural.

    He won the Piccolo Violino Magico competition in Italy with a luminous performance of Mendelssohn.

  • He can do it, but it’s a bit “samey “ a rather bland unvaried wall of violin playing without much breathing space or interpretation.

    Didn’t feel much like fun. I’d rather listen to Ricci,
    Who was always on top of his game, and yet always made virtuoso music sound dangerous !

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