Upham's Corner Online

Violinist Shaw Pong Liu featured in Greater Boston House Concert Series

Posted: May 22, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

Concert by Shaw Pong LiuShaw Pong Liu drew a warm and enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of her program, "Sun/Sound/Rise."    Ms. Liu performed compositions based on her outdoor adventures in early morning bird listening, most recently at Acadia National Park in Maine.

"Encore!  Encore!"

Not only is she an accomplished musician (we could sit quietly and be happy) but she also knew how to engage her audience in a meaningful musical experience that expanded the sense of sound in nature.

Jonathan Clark, storyteller, opened with a reading from "The Origin of Birds" by Italo Calvino, a fanciful journey into the "unknown," a realm of possibility that had been vanquished by a well-defined, cultivated, and structured world in which every human dwelled without a need to explore or question, a world without the existence of birds.  

It is almost ironic that present in the audience was an expert (member of the Brookline Bird Society) who could identify bird calls in seconds while the rest of us were not sure we were hearing brakes squeak. 

Are we any different from the world described in "The Origin"? 

It is to the world of nature's sounds that the artist turned - songs hidden in the tops of trees whose upper branches dance with the rays of early light, or songs so complex that without slowing down the recording, we are unable to hear the music, or songs pitched so high the artist can barely find the matching sounds on her instrument. It is to the sounds of birds at sunrise that Shaw Pong Liu turned for her inspiration.

Concert by Shaw Pong Liu Concert by Shaw Pong Liu

Ms. Liu not only sings with her violin but with her voice, creating contrasting and harmonizing themes that intertwine and complement each other.

Especially memorable were spring songs from the Pine Sanctuary and compositions in celebration of the Grouse and Hermit Thrush.  Haunting and thought-provoking was the duet played by Ms. Liu and guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan: "February Ostinato," a musical mirror of the endless winter days that imprison us in relentless cold. 

Concert by Shaw Pong Liu
At Shaw Pong's direction, we, the audience, created rain music. "Imagine," she said, "how the rain sounds to you, slowly at first then building to a heavy downpour." 

We did - each of us - imagine the rain that forms our memories, and we used our voices, ourselves to make it rain:

large drops saturating a mound of oak leaves
steady drops drumming a metal roof
gentle rain lulling us into sleep

How did we know when to rain harder, to storm? 
How did we know when to cease raining, to enter the calm? 
How is it our rhythms became as one?

 Ms. Liu is a gifted and multi-talented musician - a superb performing artist, a composer who knows how to reproduce the music of the world around her (waves, trucks, birds) and a "travel agent" who can lead her audiences on musical journeys.

We look forward to more of her music and to more Greater Boston House Concerts.

More about these concerts

Classical guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan recently formed the Greater Boston House Concerts, a network of music and art lovers who open their homes to performing artists for semi-private events.  The concert "Sun/Sound/Rise" was held at the home of Aaron and Catherine Larget-Caplan in Upham's Corner and served as the opening concert to this promising series.

  • Shaw Pong Liu's latest project, A Bird a Day, including work from her recent residency at Acadia National Park. www.abirdaday.org
  • Shaw Pong Liu's website:  www.shawpong.com
  • Aaron Larget-Caplan website:  www.AaronLC.com
  • To contact Aaron about Greater Boston House Concerts:  617-947-1330 - Info@AaronLC  
Concert by Shaw Pong Liu
Jonathan Clark, Shaw Pong Liu, Aaron Larget-Caplan
Concert by Shaw Pong Liu
Concert by Shaw Pong Liu
Ernesto Hernandez & Veronica Barron
Concert by Shaw Pong Liu
Robert King, Shemiram Fabian & Caroline Larget
Concert by Shaw Pong Liu

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