The Kennedy Center

Shaw Pong Liu


Violinist, composer and erhu player Shaw Pong Liu engages diverse communities through multidisciplinary collaborations, creative music and social dialogue. As Boston Artist-in-Residence in 2016, she started Code Listen, an ongoing project using music creation and performance to build relationships between Boston police, teen artists, family members surviving homicide, as well as local musicians, and to support healing and dialogue around gun violence, racism, and police practices.
Other projects in 2017-2018 include leading Sing Home, a song-sharing project that builds on Liu's bicultural and bilingual Chinese-American roots to documents songs from home as sung by individual residents, workers, students and visitors to Boston's Chinatown, as Artist-in-Residence at the Pao Arts Center; and composing music for Conference of the Birds, a dance theatre project inspired by the 12th-century Persian literary masterpiece exploring migration, refugee experiences and the search for the divine, in collaboration with an international ensemble of dancers, musicians and artists directed by choreographer Wendy Jehlen.
Shaw Pong’s compositions have been commissioned by A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, New Gallery Concert Series and Anikaya Dance Theatre. As a violinist and erhu player she performs with groups including Silk Road Ensemble, MIT’s Gamelan GalakTika, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Castle of Our Skins. She is a founding member of Play for Justice, a network of musicians and artists in Boston supporting social justice causes and making a public stand against racism. Shaw Pong has worked as a teaching artist with the New England Conservatory of Music, the Urbano Project, Celebrity Series, the Cantata Singers, and Young Audiences. Internationally she has taught at Cuerdes Oaxaca strings festival in Oaxaca, Mexico, and at Yo-Yo Ma’s invitation, Youth Music Culture Guangdong in Guangzhou, China. She has a Bachelor’s degree from U. C. Berkeley, and a Masters in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Watch Past Performances

Video 8/26/2018: The Beat That Binds Us: A multi-genre performative and visual piece curated by the 2018-2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows

By combining elements of spoken word verse, hip hop, dance, visual art & instrumentation, The Beat That Binds Us explores the connectivity of Americans by using the body as a metaphor, with emphasis on its health and vitality dependent on the syncopated rhythm of its heartbeat. Through creating content that explores social norms and behaviors, this performance will investigate the barriers that create disease or disharmony in an increasingly divisive nation, and will unpack what we can do to move forward together as a functioning, beating heart.

About the Performers: The Kennedy Center, a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, honors our 35th President everyday by uplifting ideals from his legacy (service, justice, freedom, courage, and gratitude) that live through the arts. As part of this celebration of legacy, the Kennedy Center launched the "Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition" in 2016, which celebrates emerging artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities. Through a year-long engagement with the Kennedy Center, Citizen Artist Fellows develop and strengthen connections in their fields, receive opportunities for artistic collaboration and presentation, and gain access to Kennedy Center Staff and Artistic Partners for individual professional development.

Shaw Pong Liu