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Distance, Sacrifice and Empathy Color Journey from Wuhan to Menuhin  

Twenty-one-year-old Tianyu Liu is a senior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond from Wuhan, China.
21-year-old Tianyu Liu is a senior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond from Wuhan, China. As a teenager, he traveled 12 hours round-trip by high-speed rail every week to take lessons with violinist Lee Chin Siow. He enrolled in the College of Charleston to continue his studies with Siow. (Photo by Heather Moran/College of Charleston.)

“In America, I think we are more focused on the music itself, the harmony, the music lines, the phrases. It's more interesting to play the music [in] this kind of way.”

Twenty-one-year-old Tianyu Liu is a native of of Wuhan, China. His father is a traffic cop who is passionate about classical music and passed that love along to his son. 

“He inspired me to play violin when I was five,” Tianyu says. “He was by my side when I practiced every day.” 

In China, Tianyu’s studies were intensive and his family made great sacrifices to make Tianyu’s musical pursuits possible. His mother worked far away in Tibet to help pay for his lessons. His father accompanied him on weekly high-speed-rail trips to a city 700 kilometers from his home so that he could study with violinist Lee Chin Siow. 

Twenty-one-year-old Tianyu Liu is a senior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond from Wuhan, China.
This spring, Tianyu Liu won first place in the MTNA Young Artists Performance Competition. The competition was held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Tianyu Liu.)

Tianyu wanted to continue learning from Siow, so he relocated to the United States where he attends the College of Charleston. He says that studying music in the United States is very different from what he experienced growing up. 

“In America, I think we are more focused on the music itself: the harmony, the music lines, the phrases. It's more interesting to play the music when I think of this kind of way,” said Liu.

Tianyu Liu is a senior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.

Credits: Bruce Roberts recorded Tianyu Liu’s interview and performance at ARP Studios in Charleston, South Carolina. This episode was produced by Catherine Komp, Peter Solomon and Sarah Schilling. If you liked what you heard, please rate and review Making Menuhin in your favorite podcast player.