Did You Know (Shalin Liu)

Pianist practicing one early Sunday morning at Shalin Liu Performance Center
Photo by E.J. Lefavour

That The Shalin Liu Performance Center was named after Shalin Liu, A Taiwanese-born philanthropist who donated $3 million toward the Rockport Chamber Music Festival concert hall, with a caveat that $500,000 of the gift be devoted to music education programs for students?   She is an avid concertgoer and supporter of the Center’s educational and outreach efforts.  Long before she had money to give away, she was reaching out to help others.  When she was an 18-year-old student in Taipei, she got word that a former classmate had lost a leg in an accident. She wrote to the son of Taiwan leader Chiang Kai-shek, who was running a government agency that focused on the young. She implored him to help the badly injured student. Her persistence paid off. The boy received an artificial leg and was able to walk again.

Lui attended Taiwan University, where she studied philosophy and literature. In 1973, she moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Asian philosophy at Indiana University. She later moved to the Boston area where she raised a family and worked at Harvard University’s Harvard-Yenching Library and the Harvard Law School library.  Concern for the terminally ill motivated her to train as a hospice worker and work in nursing homes.  Her life is highlighted by big and small acts of kindness.  Her kindness has certainly greatly benefitted Cape Ann.  If you haven’t been to the Shalin Liu Performance Center yet, check out their upcoming performances and go to one.  It is one of the most beautiful performance spaces I have ever been to, and its right in our backyard.  Go to http://www.rcmf.org/newperformance.html for info.

E.J. Lefavour


9 thoughts on “Did You Know (Shalin Liu)

  1. Hi Ellen, I found this post very interesting. What a wonderful, giving woman Shalin Liu is. The The Shalin Liu Performance Center is indeed, a wonderful gift to our community in so many ways. I love just sitting inside of it. Another reason to be so proud of Cape Ann. Thanks for writing about the story of Shalin Liu.


  2. This is indeed a very fine acoustical space, one of the best small halls anywhere. Kudos to the architects, Alan Joslin and Deborah Epstein, and the acousticians, Kirkegaard and Associates, but especially to Tom Burger and the Rockport Music Festival Board. In the begining, I heard people say that this building would never get built and that RMF was over-reaching, but thanks to the generousity of Ms Liu and others, their persistent effort paid off. This building will have a profound effect on the art scene and the economy of Cape Ann for generations.


    1. Greg, thanks for the additional kudos. Many people were involved in its creation and it is good to recognize all. I focused on Shalin Liu because I wanted to know why it was named the Shalin Liu Performance Center.


      1. Thank you so much for writing this! I have been searching online to learn why it is named Shalin Liu and your website is the only one that provides this information! What a great story! And what a gorgeous space!


  3. I recently ran into a friend in Manchester and he enthusiastically said that he and his wife had just had their first visit to the Shalin Liu Theater and he called it “Cape Ann’s Best Hidden Gem”!


    1. I would have to agree with them. The Shalin Liu is an amazingly beautiful place with wonderful acoustics and great programming. Cape Ann is so lucky to have it, along with the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester Stage Company and so many more amazing gems we have here.


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