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ASU music alum wins 2018 Hong Kong International Violin Competition

March 28, 2018

Shu Liu, an alumna of Arizona State University’s School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, was awarded first prize at the 2018 Hong Kong International Violin Competition.

Shu Liu playing violin

Liu graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from ASU in 2015 and a Master of Music in violin performance from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017, where she studied under the renowned violinist and conductor Andrés Cárdenes.

After completing her degrees, Liu returned to China and was appointed to a faculty position at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she performs and teaches orchestral and chamber music performance. 

Liu began playing the violin when she was 6 years old and credits hearing a concert by the Beijing Sun Youth Orchestra when she was 10 years old for inspiring her dedication to learn how to play the violin beautifully.

“I found out how beautiful a violin could sound under utmost care and love,” Liu said. “I said to myself that night, ‘This is what I'm going to do.’"

Danwen Jiang, violin professor in the ASU School of Music, first met Liu when she was a 14-year-old student taking a master class with Jiang in Beijing, hosted by the Beijing Sun Youth Orchestra.

“Liu played a very impressive first movement of the Mendelssohn violin concerto,” Jiang said. “I knew then that she was a very special talent and was destined for a successful future. I am thrilled that Shu was awarded first prize in the Adult Professional Division at the competition. It is a well-deserved honor and representation of excellence in the professional music field.”

Liu took lessons from Jiang each time Jiang visited China and, in 2011, Liu decided to attend the ASU School of Music to pursue a bachelor’s degree in violin performance.

“Professor Danwen Jiang, my violin teacher at ASU, not only taught me violin playing but also shared her wisdom with me as a respectful artist and caring mentor,” Liu said.

Liu credits her ASU classes for training her in the fundamentals needed to understand the music she played and the orchestra and chamber music programs for teaching her how to collaborate with other musicians. She said the financial support from the School of Music made it possible for her to travel and participate in several competitions, including a performance at Carnegie Hall as an award-winning young artist soloist.

“After my senior recital, Professor Jiang said to me ‘Tonight I didn't hear a student recital but a performance of artist level,’” Liu said. “I knew then that I was walking on the right path. All of my experiences at ASU led to the same goal, impacted my music career and shaped me into a well-rounded musician. I am grateful for everything the ASU School of Music has brought to me, and I feel fortunate that I am an alumna of this great school.”

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