David Li AM

Successful Business Leader and Outstanding Advocate of the Arts Awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

David Li was on the occasion of the birthday of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his significant services to the performing arts.

Early Beginnings in Australia

During the mid-eighties, David Li arrived in Australia as a student from Shanghai under the auspices of two prestigious scholarships, the Australia China Council Award (sponsored by the Australian government) having being nominated by the late Professor John Hopkins AM OBE, Dr. Victor Chang AC (eminent cardiologist) and granted by Professor Wang Gung Wu AO (who was Chair of the China Council). He also received the BP Scholarship from the Victoria College of the Arts – a faculty of the University of Melbourne. He completed his post-graduate study under the world famous violin virtuoso, the late Nelli Shikolnikova. Following a stellar career in music, he entered the business sector as a new and stellar phase of his life.

A Successful Business Leader

Over the ensuring decades that followed, Mr Li’s business has grown to the extent it is now a major building material distributor and manufacturer in Australia. Mr Li’s business also involves property development and commercial investment.

David Li as student during his days at the
Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne

The MSO in Beijing during its 2018 China Tour. The MSO is led by Sir Andrew Davis and accompanying soloist, Lu Siqing

High Park Seasons project in Glen Iris, Melbourne

Outstanding Services to the Arts and Education

Mr Li has served as a leader in bringing Australia and the world together through the universal language of music,arts and education and has been a passionate exponent for philanthropic pursuits in general.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Mr Li is the incumbent Deputy Chairman of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), one of the world’s leading orchestras and through him has pioneered a new strategic direction for this organization. Mr Li founded the East Meets West series of concerts which artfully blends Eastern and Western musical influences and traditions. These artistic programs, includes its annual Chinese New Year concert whose noble objective it is to build cultural understanding between Australia and China. Recently, MSO won the prestigious 2019 AusCham Westpac “ Australia-China Business Award”. This award acknowledges the MSO’s excellence and innovation in forging meaningful connections and partnerships with China.

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria further stated, “As the only Lunar Chinese New Year program of its kind in Australia, this concert is recognized as an outstanding showcase of the MSO and one of the leading Lunar New Year celebrations outside of China.

His Excellency, Mr Cheng Jingye, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Australia stated, “MSO’s Lunar New Year concert shines the spotlight on China and Australia’s shared love of

From left to right: Chief Conductor MSO, Sir Andrew Davis CBE,
Mrs. Angela Li, violinist Lu Siqing and David Li AM.

musical traditions, through a beautiful blend of Chinese melodies and western masterworks.”

Sophie Galaise, Managing Director of the MSO recently reported that MSO Lunar New Year concert was broadcast directly into China and global through CCTV, Phoenix TV, Foxtel arts and UNITEL to attract an annual viewing audience of over 200 million people.

Mr Li has been a board director and significant patron of MSO since 2013. He has provided invaluable support in terms of ensuring the success of MSO’s China tours and to achieve the formalization of the Strategy Collaboration and Partner Agreement with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, The National Centre for Performing Arts Beijing and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.

The MSO in Beijing during its 2018 China Tour. The MSO is led by Sir Andrew Davis and accompanying soloist, Lu Siqing

At Opera Australia’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert held at the Sydney Opera House: From left to right – Angela Li, Davi Li AM, Mrs Lyn Cosgrove and His Excellency General  the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired)  Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Images supplied courtesy of Monash University (2019)

From left to right: Professor Cat Hope, Head of the School of Music, Monash
University, Mrs Angela Li, David Li AM and Professor Sharon Pickering Dean,
Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Monash University

David Li is a Council Member of the Monash University Philanthropy Campaign Council and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Monash University in 2018. Mr Li signed a Gift Agreement in 2017 with the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music School of Monash University to
create the David Li Music Award for the bachelor degree in music and East Meets West Music Scholarship for Master of Arts.

Monash University has placed high value on Mr Li’s boundless energy, enthusiasm and general assistance in helping to attain its broad objectives of providing a world-class facility at Monash.

The broader opportunities afforded by Mr Li’s initiatives has been a spur to other long-term partnerships and crosscultural relationships with China and Asia.

At Opera Australia’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert held at the Sydney Opera House: From left to right – Angela Li, Davi Li AM, Mrs Lyn Cosgrove and His Excellency General  the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired)  Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia

The Li Family Trust is the Production Partner of Opera Australia’s 2019 Melbourne Season of Faust

A scene from Opera Australia’s 2018 Melbourne Season of Tosca

The Li Family Trust was the Production Partner for Opera Australia’s 2018 Melbourne Season of Tosca

Opera Australia

For the past three years, David Li has made an exceptional contribution towards Australia’s national opera company, Opera Australia. Mr Li acknowledged the importance of the Opera Australia to the cultural life of Australia and has consistently contributed the funds towards it.

In 2016, Mr Li made a generous donation to Opera Australia. In particular, supporting Opera Australia’s Young Artists Program which was a superb example of philanthropy impacting a national platform.

He has also made significant contribution towards the Opera Australia production of Tosca and Faust as its Production Partner and Sponsor.

On the Opening Night of Opera Australia’s Tosca of Melbourne’s 2018 season, Mr David Mortimer AO, Chairman of Opera Australia delivered well-deserved accolades to David Li as Production Partner and Sponsor. He stated “David Li’s personal story as an immigrant to this country represents an inspiring story for all. He is blessed with both a musical background and a substantial business concern. He is an example of what our immigration population can do for Australia and is something we can be proud.”

3 MBS Fine Music Radio Corporation

In 2017 Mr Li was appointed as a Board Member of 3MBS Fine Music Radio Corporation in recognition of his decade of support and financial contributions.The appointment draws on his connections in the music industry both internationally and domestically and strategic skills in enhancing the profile and standing of

this public broadcasting station for quality music. Mr Li recognizes the importance of radio to promote quality music and the radio station’s not-for-profit mandate,which needs to be nurtured and fostered for the present and future generations to enjoy.

Exemplary Australian Migrant

David Li stands out as an exemplary Australian migrant by the scale of his achievements in international business and generosity in philanthropy towards the arts and education. He has acted as an extraordinary cultural ambassador between East and West.

He has helped change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and humanity at large through the saving grace of music, arts, education and international cultural exchanges.

He represents the best of what an Australian can aspire to be and achieve in one’s lifetime. Mr Li’s contribution and efforts have been roundly endorsed within both Australian and Chinese government circles, the arts, education and mainstream communities generally.

David Li and Angela Li at an Opera Australia gala event
The official party at the MSO 2019 Chinese New Year Concert

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

David Li AM

On behalf of the Board, musicians and staff of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, I warmly congratulate David Li on his appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia. A generous patron of the MSO before joining the Board in 2013, David and his family have been integral to many successes achieved by our great orchestra.

Message from the Chairman of the MSO Board

David became Deputy Chairman in November 2018 and as a passionate and active Board member he has played a key role in assisting the MSO to establish deep engagement with major artists and cultural institutions across China and our community here in Australia.

His significant support in developing ongoing engagement and profile for the MSO in China through the establishment of multi-year partnerships across business and cultural sectors as outcomes of our recent soldout six city tour to China will see important collaborations and the exchange of skills between our countries. We look forward to enjoying reciprocal residencies and side by side performances for musicians and staff with the National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing), and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in the years to come.

At home, David was instrumental in developing the MSO’s highly successful East meets West program which celebrates Eastern and Western musical influences and traditions. The highlight of East meets West is our annual Chinese New Year Concert and under David’s guidance and ongoing support, this event has become one of the leading Chinese New Year concerts outside of China. David is also behind the development of our close relationships with world-renowned artists such as Tan Dun (now the MSO’s Artistic Ambassador) and Lu Siqing, who will perform in the MSO’s Last Night of the Proms on 13 July 2019.I know David is particularly proud of our recent achievement as recipient of the 2019 AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Award for Business Innovation, Creative Industries and the Digital Economy. This prestigious award acknowledged our excellence and innovation in forging meaningful connections with China, and for our ongoing commitment to developing artists and audiences.

I also commend David on his contribution as a philanthropist. As one of Melbourne’s ‘Impresarios of the Arts’, David’s contribution to the MSO reflects his love for the performing arts and for beautiful music.David and his wife Angela are members of the MSO’s Chairman’s Circle and with his family foundation, are generous benefactors of the MSO’s international touring activities,often accompanying the orchestra while overseas. They are enthusiastic contributors to many of the company’s fundraising events and galas and are ardent advocates for the MSO, hosting soirées in their own home featuring MSO artists.

The MSO is very fortunate to have such an engaged, driven and supportive Deputy Chairman and we sincerely congratulate David on his well-earned appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia.

Michael Ullmer AO, Chairman,
MSO Board

David Li AM at the MSO 2019 Chinese New Year