Dr. Ying Ying Liu
Born into a profoundly musical family in China, musical mastery, it is said, came to Ying Ying almost without effort, bestowed upon her "like a gracious gift." Her illustrious father, Liu Chi, was the most celebrated Chinese classical composer of the 20th century. As a precocious youngster at the elbow of her father, Ying Ying learned at a very tender age both what her father termed, “the essence and truth of the Chinese song” and the knowledge of Chinese and Western orchestral scores. It was the sheer grace and loveliness of her voice, along with exceptional brilliance at piano that steered her towards developing her talents in the West.
Ying Ying set out on a chamber music scholarship from the Cleveland Institute Music, where she studied piano with Paul Schenly. At the same time she worked extensively with collaborative pianist Anne Epperson, studied composition privately with the late American composer Donald Erb and soon obtained her Masters Degree. Ying Ying went on to complete her Doctorate in ‘Piano Performance and Literature’ at the Eastman School of Music, one of the most prestigious musical schools in America. While at Eastman, Ying Ying studied piano performance under the famous pedagogue, Rebecca Penneys, worked with members of the Cleveland Quartet, early music specialists Paul O'Dette and harpsichord Arthur Haas, and participated in the master classes of Richard Goode, Jerome Lowenthal and Malcolm Bilson. Ying Ying’s voice training was simultaneously as completed under such renowned professors as Thomas Paul, Robert Eckert and Catherine Kasch.
Both to widen her cultural perspectives and to powerfully utilize her creative energies, Ying Ying spent her summers in Europe performing and coaching at musical festivals. She worked as resident pianist, coach and accompanist with institutions such as the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Salzburg, Central City Opera, Colorado, and the May Festival in Cincinnati, among others. She participated in rare performances such as chamber versions of Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” and the Fourth Symphony with Sante Fe Promusica and Smithsonian Chamber Players in Santa Fe and Washington D.C.
Seasonal visits to Europe continued after her Eastman graduation. A long string of performances ensued, encompassing a wide ranging repertoire from Baroque to Modern. Some of her most famous leading soprano roles were in performances of the Mozart and Faure Requiems, Handel’s Messiah and contemporary composer Cary Ratcliff’s Oratorio. Her numerous appearances included chamber music concerts of Mozart and Bach Masses and Cantatas. As a pianist she performed, both with American and Chinese orchestras, Mozart’s concerto in D minor, K. 466, C major, K.467 and B-flat major, K.595, Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto in C minor (Op.37) and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Aside from performance, Ying Ying taught Piano and Chamber Music as an Assistant Professor at American colleges for over half a decade.
Ying Ying headed several chamber music series in the U.S. and in China over the years. She collaborated with other artists to produce a book "The Elegance of Santorini Style", a short film "Cuba in Eclipse", and she often sings for charitable events and causes.