Violinist and composer Shaw Pong Liu activates dialogue, community-building and healing through multidisciplinary creative collaborations centered on listening. As Boston Artist-in-Residence in 2016, she started Code Listen, an ongoing project using songwriting and music performance to build relationships between Boston police, teen artists, family members surviving homicide, and local musicians, and to support healing and dialogue around gun violence, racism, and police practices. She is a 2018-19 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, one of five artists chosen from around the country for this honor.
Recent projects include 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; and composing music for Conference of the Birds, a movement 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.
Previous projects include Water Graffiti for Peace, a series of outdoor Chinese water calligraphy sessions inviting public play and conversations about peace, resulting in a composition for Chinese calligrapher and 8 solo female vocalists; A Bird a Day, a 3-year project exploring birdsong, sunrises and composition, culminating in a site-specific composition for 18 string players across four tiers of the Calderwood Hall at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and Soldiers’ Tales Untold, a musical-narrative production mixing veterans’ stories, Stravinsky, improvised music, and audience dialogue about war.
Shaw Pong’s compositions have been commissioned by Silkroad Ensemble, A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, New Gallery Concert Series, Anikaya Dance Theatre, Community MusicWorks. As a violinist and erhu player she performs with groups including Silkroad 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.