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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue


A musical odyssey in the U.S. inspires Liane and Y.S. Liu to help WSU students pursue their art

Cooper family
 Wichita State music professor Julie Bees, left, with Y.S. and Liane Liu inside the Grand Hall at Hong Kong University. Bees, one of Liane Liu’s piano teachers at Wichita State, performed in 2014 with the SAR Philharmonic, which Y.S. Liu founded.
When Liane Dzau Liu first came to the United States in 1984 to study music, she was the only Chinese student at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She had $60 in her pocket, all of her belongings in two suitcases and knew only a smattering of English.

“Many teachers and friends helped me along the way,” says Liu, who lives in Hong Kong with her husband, Y.S., also a musician. “I always felt that one day, I would like to help other Chinese students in financial need fulfill their dreams.”
Liane and Y.S. Liu
Liane and Y.S. Liu

Liu is doing just that at Wichita State University by providing a generous gift to endow the Liane and Y.S. Liu Scholarship/Fellowship in Music, assisting undergraduate or graduate students from China and Hong Kong. The Lius visited the WSU campus in 2016 at the invitation of College of Fine Arts Dean Rodney Miller. They were surprised and impressed by how much the university has grown.

Liane Liu earned a master’s degree in piano pedagogy while at Wichita State, learning from professors who she admires to this day, including Andrew Trechak, Dean Roush and Julie Bees. Bees recalls chatting over tea about Liu’s experiences growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China.

“Her talent, hard work and extraordinary grace helped her survive many personal hardships and tragedies,” said Bees, who still keeps in touch with Liu. “I admire Liane and Y.S. for all of their contributions to the musical cultural scene in Hong Kong, and I cherish their friendship.”

Liu’s graduate recital on March 30, 2002, was a memorable one. Her best friend’s husband and two children drove from Iowa to attend the recital and were involved in a serious car accident near Kansas City the day before.

“Both of her children were seriously injured,” Liu says. “I drove to the hospital in Kansas City the night before the recital and hadn’t had a chance to sleep at all. Under tremendous mental stress and fatigue, I went ahead with the recital that afternoon and did well. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience.”

Her friend’s family members recovered from their injuries and the two families remain close.

Liu and her husband were born in Shanghai and met through their love of music. Y.S. plays the violin and is chair of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Through their family foundation, the Lius provide 20 scholarships to students at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and in various charities. They also provide multiple scholarships to university students from the province where Y.S.’s father grew up.

Liane Liu continues to pursue her music, teaching piano to students in her Hong Kong studio. Many of them go on to study at universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about supporting WSU music students, contact Marya McCrae, director of development for the College of Fine Arts, at 316-978-3945 or

Marya McCrae