Zhen Liu


Photos by Matt Dine


2nd prize, 2011 Hong Kong International Violin Competition; 3rd prize, 2014 Canada Calgary Morning-side Music Bridge Chamber Competition; Winner, 2017 Bard College Conservatory Concerto Competition; Participant, 2012 Menuhin International Violin Competition, Beijing, China; Participant, 2018 Menuhin International Violin Competition, Geneva, Switzerland; Participant, 2018 Stern International Violin Competition, Shanghai, China


Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Principal 2nd Violin, 2022; Albany Symphony Orchestra, Substitute Violin, 2023; Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, substitute, 2019; Heifetz International Music Institute Festival, 2018; Keshet Eilon Master-course Music Festival, 2017; The First Lian Du International Music Festival, 2016; Canada Calgary Morning-side Music Bridge, 2012–14; The First Beijing International Music Festival, 2009

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Violinists Hilary Hahn and Shmuel Ashkenasi

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most?

Johannes Brahms

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it?

Beethoven’s music—all of the accidents from his music are surprising to me; I enjoyed them a lot. Those kinds of dynamics show the character of Beethoven.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician?

The failed experiences, like failed competitions or juries.

Favorite non-classical musician or band

The film star Mr. Sylvester Stallone

If you could play another instrument, what would it be?


If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Cooking, being a professional chef

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

Chicago, I love cold weather.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician

Never give up.