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Welcome SPA Faculty Member: Si-Yan Darren Li

The UCF School of Performing Arts is pleased to welcome Assistant Professor Si-Yan Darren Li to the Music faculty. Li will be leading the cello studio at the university.

Li started studying cello at age five and now holds prizes from numerous prestigious competitions around the world, such as the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. He is also the recipient of the "American Masterpieces" Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  

“Teaching cello has really become my biggest passion in life,” says Li. “I find it incredibly rewarding to help my students to grow as a cellist, a musician and a human being by sharing my experience, knowledge and wisdom. I believe that passion, devotion and honest communications are essential elements to great teaching.”

In addition to performing at many renowned music festivals, including the Ravinia, Verbier and Kronberg Academy festivals, Li has also appeared in recitals and chamber music performances around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Izumi Hall in Osaka, and the National Concert Hall in Taipei. 

“I am excited and looking forward to performing several great chamber music works with a few other faculty members this upcoming season,” says Li. “[The music faculty] were kind and supportive to each other and also made me feel valued and appreciated.”

Li holds his Bachelor of Music Degree from The Juilliard School, and his Master of Music Degree and Artist Diploma from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. During his time at Indiana University in South Bend, he was the cellist of the award-winning Euclid Quartet and served on the music faculty. During the summer, he serves as the head of strings, teaches cello, and performs at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO.