Ming Liu, violinist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My mom is a violin teacher, but for some reason she didn’t pursue a professional career. To some extent, I am kind of fulfilling my mother’s unfinished dreams. However, my current teacher, Professor Vera Tsu Wei-ling, is the one who truly inspired my musical life. She was the one who encouraged and motivated me to move forward when I was in college.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I have played with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) for four months, and it took time for me to adjust the transition from a student to a concertmaster. This is a real challenge for me. A qualified concertmaster is desirable to have an inside knowledge of the forever expanding orchestral repertoire with ample performing experience and to have a strong personality and excellent leadership skills. I am slowly building and learning all of these things.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

Every performance is precious and unforgettable for me, but there was one time when I worked with conductor Jaap van Zweden on Bruch’s Violin Concerto in December 2016. I only had one month to prepare this concerto which I had never played before, so it was very stressful at that time. I cried immediately after I finished playing the last note.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I think that a professional musician should be well-prepared at any moment regardless of the piece. There are just differences in personal preferences.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

I like to watch movies or cartoons about music and musicians, in which I will see other people’s attitudes towards music, and these often encourage me. In other words, they allow me to think more deeply about the word “music”.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Before I started working, I spent most of my time preparing for competitions or solo concerts. As a result, my choice of repertoire is mostly based on the competition requirements, and I select them according to my own preferences.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Undoubtedly, no matter whether solo or with orchestra, my answer would be the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall. It carries a lot of my memories, and I always feel that playing there makes my emotions more evocative.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?

More and more people are starting to like and accept classical music in China than ever before. Yet, I think classical music is still not a very celebrated form of music, because many audiences feel that they need to understand classical music in order to feel its beauty. Nowadays, there are many popular concerts in which its main purpose is to let the audience feel that classical music is accessible, such as teaching the audience about the composer’s intention and to help them understand how to appreciate classical music. I think this is very important for the public.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I think it was the 2017 Beijing Music Festival. There was an award ceremony before my performance, which I won the Young Artist Award. I cried so hard when I made my acceptance speech. But my performance was right after the award, and I played in tears. That was unforgettable.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

I think it’s about finding out what music means to you, and what kind of influence it has on you

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Stay gold and don’t give up easily.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I am very optimistic, I look forward to the future and yet enjoy every moment that I live in. I feel that every day will be happy if one truly appreciates life.


Ming Liu, a Chinese young violinist. Born in Shenyang in 1995, she started to learn violin at age of five. In 2007, Liu was admitted to the High School Attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and studied with Wei Yun. Then she came to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2014 and studied with the Professor Vera Tsu, a famous Chinese violinist and educator. In September 2019, she was directly promoted to the Graduate School of Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Now she is the concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Liu has won several international and national competition awards, including the Hong Kong International Violin Competition 2012 (Second Prize), the Thomas & Evon Cooper International Violin Competition 2013 (as a Second Prize winner, she performed Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 with Cleveland Orchestra), the Golden Bell Award for Music Violin Competition in November 2015 (Silver Medal), and the first grand-prized Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition (SISIVC) (top six, and the only Chinese in the finals). Mrs. Liu awarded the first prize in violin category of the Second Harbin International Music Competition in September 2019.

In December 31, 2016, Ms. Liu was invited to perform and achieved great success as a soloist at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 Shanghai New Year’s concert with the conductor Jaap van Zweden. The following year, she participated in the 20th Beijing International Music Festival as a soloist with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and won the “Young Musician Award” specially added for the 20th anniversary of the Beijing International Music Festival. Three years later, at the 23rd Beijing International Music Festival in October 2020, she won the award again, becoming the first young musician to win this award twice.

Ms. Liu has performed as violinist in concerts with famous domestic an international orchestras, including the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, etc. She has also collaborated with conductors: Yaron Traub, Long Yu, Zhang Guoyong, Yang Yang, Huang Yi, Jing Huan, Zhang Jiemin, Hu Yongyan, etc.

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