Columbia College Chicago

Meet the Faculty

Yang Liu

Violin
String Department Head

Violinist Yang Liu combines outstanding technical command and sublime musicality in performances that have earned him numerous accolades in Asia, the United States and Europe. He is a former prize winner of the Twelfth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a first prize winner of China’s National Violin Competition. The newspaper Beijing Tonight called him “The best of the billion!” Mr. Liu currently plays a Guarneri made in 1741 on a generous loan from Stradivary Society and Bein and Fushi Rare Violins.

Yang Liu’s concert highlights in 2010 and 2011 included his solo appearances at the Algave International Music Festival in Portugal and at the prestigious Sala Sao Paulo in Brazil. He also toured in China with his wife, pianist I-Huan Tsai. As one of the most successful international performing artists of Chinese origin, Yang Liu was honored to be chosen to be filmed for a documentary called “String of heart--Yang Liu” which features Yang’s artistic life. This production was aired throughout China starting in February 2011. Mr. Liu closed the season 2010/2011 in May performing as orchestral soloist with the Odense Symphony Orchestra from Denmark in another very successful tour throughout China of which a Chinese newspaper commented: "…The Carl Nielsen concerto was soloed by Chinese violinist Yang Liu who gave an absolutely sensational performance which touched the deepest spot of our hearts... Such a musician has been rarely heard for the past ten years..."

In 2002, Yang Liu made his North American debut with the Atlanta Symphony orchestra, earning three nights of standing ovations for his performance of Paganini’s First Violin Concerto. This success was followed by performances with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; the Hagen Symphony Orchestra, Germany; His repertoire ranges from baroque to the most contemporary of works.

Since making Chicago his home in 2004, Yang Liu has frequently performed as a soloist with the Ars Viva symphony orchestra directed by Alan Heatherington, Ravinia Festival and in recitals as part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series (live broadcast). He performed an opening concert at the American Film Festival and has given interviews and live performances on WFMT Classic Radio and New Life Radio. Recent activities include recitals, master classes, and concert appearances at the Kennedy Center, Roosevelt University, Northeastern Illinois University, Music Festival in Massachusetts, International Music Festival in Brazil, Beijing Great Wall International Music Festival and with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Yang Liu has been a frequent soloist at the Aspen Music Festival and with the Cincinnati-based Starling Chamber Orchestra, with which he toured China twice. He also was a featured performer in Starling’s Emmy Award-winning educational video, Classical Quest. His debut recording, “Song of Nostalgia,” was released to critical acclaim. The CD represents his broad interest in music, including some of the most difficult repertoire written for violin and traditional Chinese music. This recording, along with many of his live performances, is frequently heard on National Public Radio.

In addition to his busy performance schedule, Yang Liu serves on the artist faculty of the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), University of Cincinnati and Roosevelt University College of Performing Arts in Chicago.

Born in Tsingtao, China, Yang Liu made his concert debut at age 10 performing Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with the NHK Orchestra in Tokyo. He also performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in a nationally televised live concert with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing, which drew attention of the renowned violin pedagogue, Yao-Ji Lin. He began to study with Lin at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and soon afterward, began to concertize as a soloist internationally. His concert tours have led him to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Greece, China, Egypt and America. In pursuit of further musical development, Yang moved to the USA and continued his studies with Kurt Sassmannshaus and Dorothy DeLay at College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.