Shaw Pong Liu

2016 City of Boston Artist-In-Residence


Shaw Pong Liu performs Chinese music and culture programs for Massachusetts schools

Shaw Pong Liu also performs Jugalbandi with master tabla player Sandeep Das

Exploring China: The “Middle Kingdom” Through Music & Story

From the grasslands of Mongolia to the high mountain of Yunnan, master musician Shaw Pong Liu takes audiences on a musical journey through historical and contemporary China. Her suitcase packed with languages and musical instruments, Shaw Pong weaves history, geography, the Mandarin language and Chinese folk music in a dynamic exploration of China.

Target Grades:  K-8
Duration: 45 Minutes
Audience Limit: 300

When Words Sing: Music and Mandarin

With a European violin in one hand and a Chinese violin (erhu) in the other, master teacher and violinist Shaw Pong Liu takes students on an adventure of cross-cultural communication, connecting the language of music to the tonal language of Mandarin. Drawing on her travels as a Chinese–American studying in Beijing, Shaw Pong uses her instruments, singing voice, looping pedal, and multi-lingual skills to demonstrate the variety of ways in which people use linguistic and musical tones to communicate. While exploring facets of Chinese culture, students will learn to sing the pentatonic scale and to speak, sing and physically demonstrate the four tones of Mandarin—skills that help both in learning languages and learning music.

Target Grades:  3-5
Duration: 45 Minutes
Audience Limit: 80



  • Classical music
  • Language of music
  • Chinese language
  • Chinese culture
  • Chinese New Year (Feb 16, 2018)
  • Cultural exchange
  • The Silk Road

PRICING (performance/day)
Exploring China
Single: $575  Double: $920 Triple: 1,208 Quad: $1,438
When Words Sing
Single: $350 Double: $560 Triple: $735 Quad: $875
Travel Fee: $45 per day
Note: pricing may vary for weekend/out-of-school time

Exploring China Performance Requirements
When Words Sing Performance Requirements

Exploring China Educational Materials

Violinist and composer Shaw Pong Liu engages diverse communities with creative music and social dialogue by innovating the audience experience of live music. Collaborating with artists from a wide range of disciplines, Shaw Pong creates genre-defying performances which interplay written and improvised music with narration, storytelling and movement.
Her ongoing project, A Bird a Day, is a creative exploration of dawns, birds, and music. Other recent projects include Ted Hughes’ Tales From Ovid, a critically-acclaimed collaboration with Whistler in the Dark theatre company and ArtsEmerson, re-telling Greek myths with aerial silks and original music; Soldiers’ Tales Untold, an original musical-narrative production mixing veterans’ stories, music, and audience dialogue about the long-term costs of war, and Translations, a site-specific, outdoor performance-installation, collaboratively created with choreographer Rodney Veal and twenty dancers, musicians, and “iBirds” ranging over a 40-acre park.She is the founder of the 99% String Quartet and SQUEE (String Quartets Everywhere), bringing live chamber music to cafes, subways and other public spaces in Boston.

An avid explorer of new sounds, Shaw Pong has premiered new works with groups including Bang-On-A-Can All-Stars, MIT’s Gamelan GalakTika, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and received commissions for her own compositions from A Far Cry, Dialogue Chamber Music, and the Urbano Project.She has held artist residencies at the Blue Sky Project and Acadia National Park, and is a teaching artist with Urbano Project, Silk Road Connect, and Young Audiences. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a Masters in Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, Shaw Pong is the recipient of the Eisner Prize, the Hertz Traveling Fellowship, and was 2008 and 2011 Artist-in-Residence and 2010 Program Director at the Blue Sky Project.



Truly just perfect for us! [Shaw Pong] worked easily and comfortably with the wide range of ages in our
audience, was always engaging, and was a very accomplished musician. It strengthened their understanding of Chinese geography, music, and language. All of us now talk about Mandarin as a “singable” language.

She also created such a wonderful bridge; Shaw Pong Liu is clearly a very accomplished modern Chinese woman– attractive, smart, articulate–but made a beautiful connection to some of the more traditional, ancient messages in her program.
– Head of School, K-9, Deerfield, MA

They were in the palm of her hand from beginning to end.
– Cultural Events Coordinator, K-12, Worcester, MA

Fun, engaging and educational. Students learned about the language, the country and some folklore, about the violin and its Chinese cousin. We loved how [Shaw Pong] moved among the audience, engaging students. Very dynamic!”
– Librarian, K-9, Deerfield, MA

I wanted to share how wonderful it was to have Shaw Pong today! The kids were really happy and engaged, she was very kind and allowed room for their natural curiosity and her interaction with them was very positive! Her program is wonderful, and it was a delight to everyone present.”
– Parent, K-5, West Newton, MA

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