Dr. Yichen Li

Dr. Li’s Education:

D.M.A. Vocal Performance and Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.M. Vocal Performance, Illinois State University 

B.A. Music Education, Nanjing Normal University

More about Dr. Li:

Countertenor Yichen Li is a diverse musician who has performed extensively in opera, oratorio, chamber music and won numerous awards as a vocalist and piano accompanist. As an active performer, Dr. Li has recently appeared in leading roles such as Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Nero-Caligula in Ilya Demutsky’s Black Square. Past performances include Purcell’s King Arthur, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Yang Ming’s Sister Jiang. Additionally, Dr. Li has performed as a soloist with Sinfonia da Camera Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Urbano Baroque Ensemble, and Estampe Trio.


In addition to Dr. Li’s career as a vocalist, he has earned many achievements as a pianist. Highlights of Dr. Li’s piano accomplishments include the first places in both solo piano and piano accompanying at the 5th Jiangsu Collegiate Music Competition.


Dr. Li earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education (piano concentration) from Nanjing Normal University, where he served as a teaching assistant in several music classes. He received a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Illinois State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Dr. Ollie Watts Davis. His primary teachers include Professor Wang Bing, Professor Liu Yixin, Professor Tatyana Ivanovna, Dr. Daniel Schuetz, and Dr. Charlotte Mattax Moersch.


Additionally, Dr. Li is teaching voice at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Li is currently serving as a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).


Teaching Philosophy:

Creativity is the core of my teaching philosophy because I find that creativity is the foundation of a student’s interest in learning music. I hope to inspire students to want to learn more and improve their skills. By helping them find their passion, they will become intrinsically motivated to create music. Additionally, collaborative work is an important experience to aid the student’s growth. The process involved in group work helps students learn to be humble, patient, and respectful. I encourage students to work with their peers and guide them throughout the process via coaching. Last but not least, I emphasize the importance of practicing in a healthy and efficient manner. It is necessary for students to take care of themselves in order to not only produce the best music but also promote the overall well-being.