CofC Violin Student to Compete in Top International Competition Held in New Zealand

Press Release

After a rigorous first round of auditions, College of Charleston music major Tianyu Liu was one of 16 students selected to participate in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (quarterfinals) in New Zealand. With a substantial prize package valued at over NZ$100,000 that includes management, concerts and a recording contract, the competition is sought after by promising young artists worldwide. 

Competing with Liu in May/June 2019 will be students from major conservatories including Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, as well as those in Vienna, Berlin and across the world.

The Michael Hill competition is recognized as a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. Established two decades ago by entrepreneur and passionate violinist, New Zealander Sir Michael Hill, the competition is seated at the top table of global, classical music competitions.

Liu has been studying with College of Charleston violin professor Lee-Chin Siow since 2013. Upon learning of Liu's acceptance into the competition Siow stated, "This is a huge accomplishment for any student. Needless to say, I am very proud of Tianyu. This honor adds to his growing list of major achievements."

In fall 2017, Liu accepted a scholarship to pursue his undergraduate studies in violin with Professor Siow at the College of Charleston School of the Arts. Shortly afterward, he won the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition (grand prize) in North Carolina and made his American debut at the Bruno Walter auditorium in Lincoln Center. Liu is a recipient of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato, Jr. Endowed Scholarship for the School of the Arts, the Lee Harwood Scholarship in Music and the Reba Kinne Huge Award in Music. Recently, Liu performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the College of Charleston Orchestra.

A native of Wuhan, a major Chinese metropolis known as “the Chicago of China,” 19-year-old Liu overcame stiff competition from thousands of competitors across the country to win eighth prize in the prestigious Central China Television National Violin Competition 2014, while he was still a student at Wuhan Conservatory of Music’s Middle School.

In 2016, under the mentorship of Siow, he went on to win First Prize and the Best Paganini Prize in the Cremona International Competition for Strings in Italy.

Liu's performance highlights include performing Handel-Halvorsen’s Passacaglia for Two Violins with Siow in the 2014 Jinji Lake Arts Festival presented by the Suzhou Arts and Cultural Center in China, and as soloist performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Wuhan Conservatory Orchestra at his graduation recital in 2016. In the summer of 2017, the U.S. Consul General in Wuhan invited Liu to give a solo performance of the U.S. National Anthem at the 241st Independence Day celebrations graced by government leaders, officials, and 400 of their most important contacts around Central China. In an appreciation letter, U.S. Consul-General Zadrozny praised that “Tianyu Liu’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was especially touching.”

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