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14-year-old violinist Christian Li to make history at the 30th Australian Festival of Chamber Music

May 31, 2021 Lifestyle News No Comments

The three young musicians join 37 other music makers for the internationally acclaimed 10-day Festival, which this year features 133 works, 112 composers, four world premieres and five Australian premieres across the 10 day event held from 23 July to 1 August.

 “It’s incredibly exciting to be able to welcome these superb young musicians to AFCM in July. Grace, Kevin and Christian will each bring their own special talents to the Festival and as we look towards the future, I’m very sure that chamber music will be an integral part of their performing lives and it will be wonderful to follow their individual journeys for many years to come,” said AFCM Artistic Director Kathryn Stott.

 “When 14-year-old violinist Christan Li performs, he will make history as the youngest ever artist at the AFCM. He’s used to making history though – he rewrote the books in 2018 when at just 10 years old, he became the youngest performer to win the junior category of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. He is also the youngest ever signing to Decca with his debut album out in August.”

“Already invited to prestigious international festivals like Verbier in Switzerland, Melbourne-born Christian blew my socks off with his performance of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition and proved himself such a born communicator. I’m thrilled he is coming to AFCM!” 

Winner of the Australian Young Performer of the Year Award in 2014 when she was just 16, now 22-year-old Adelaide-born violinist Grace Clifford has already performed in Boston, Chicago and New York and with most of Australias leading symphony orchestras. This year she will make her debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Musica Viva and returns to AFCM after a stunning debut performance in 2018.

Grace said, “I am so happy to be returning to AFCM. Its special because it is Kathys last year as Artistic Director, and she has put together a wonderful program. Its meaningful to me also to have the chance to play chamber music with Australian musicians whom I have looked up to and listened to from childhood. I remember the warmth of the Townsville audiences and the passion of AFCM organisers and volunteers. I think it will mean even more to everyone involved, audience and musicians, to be able to communicate and share music after the last year.”

Kathryn noted, “Grace’s debut in 2018 made a lasting impression on all of us and was particularly memorable for her great depth, maturity and integrity, and to have her back at the festival again, will be something very special.” 

Performing this year at the AFCM as part of his ABC Young Performers Award, 24-year-old Melbourne-born pianist Kevin Chow. After completing his studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium, Kevin has been studying at Yale University with Peter SerkinBoris Slutsky and Boris Berman and will be returning to Australia specially to perform at the AFCM.

 Kathryn said, “I felt very strongly that the Festival should offer opportunities to young prize-winners of competitions if the circumstances were right. Kevin has a deep love of Chamber Music and so coming to the AFCM and introducing him to our audiences is absolutely what we should be about.”   

“We are thrilled to welcome these three brilliant young people to Townsville. To witness their performances alongside our other extraordinary musicians, will add such wonderful opportunities for exhilarating music making.”

Over 30 music-filled years, the AFCM has forged a stunning reputation as one of the best chamber music celebrations in the world, one that attracts leading music makers and music lovers from all corners of the globe. 

“One of the very special, almost unique things about AFCM is seeing musicians from all over the country (and the world) come together, often for the first time. This leads to excitement and spontaneity for both the musicians and the audiences.” 

Whilst the last 12 months has presented its challenges, Kathryn Stott has created an extraordinary program for the 2021 Festival. The artist line-up is led by the return of legendary Australian pianist and toast of the world’s great concert halls, Piers Lane (and former AFCM Artistic Director), international didgeridoo star William Barton returning to the Festival to celebrate the milestone 30th anniversary, and soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham with an important world premiere music event. They are joined by Kirsty McCahon (double bass), Zoë Black (violin), Tobias Breider (viola), Mark Gaydon (bassoon), James Crabb (accordion), Lloyd Van’t Hoff (clarinet), Timothy Young (piano), Natsuko Yoshimoto (violin), Daniel de Borah (piano) and a raft of fellow musical makers, representing the best of Australian talent from across the country. 

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