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Meet Miranda Liu, the US-born violinist behind the New Millennium International Chamber Music Festival

Starting today, 26 August, the New Millennium International Chamber Music Festival is the brainchild of young violinist Miranda Liu. Born in the USA of a Chinese family, Miranda was a teenage prodigy who studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum before coming to Budapest. We caught up with her on the eve of the festival, a combination of chamber performances in atmospheric spaces and master classes.

Moving to Budapest from Salzburg eight years ago, violinist Miranda Liu decided to create the New Millennium International Chamber Music Festival five years later in order to focus on the true nature of chamber music.

Inaugurated in 2019, presented online in 2020, the NMICMF is live again this year, 26-31 August, a little jewel box of a festival with significant international contribution and influence. It also helps young musicians by offering scholarships through sponsors. We meet Miranda Liu, a fluent Hungarian speaker and leading light in the city’s chamber music scene.

We Love Budapest: What brought you to Hungary?

Miranda Liu: I must thank my former teacher, Professor Eszter Perényi and the Erasmus Exchange Programme for bringing me to Budapest in 2013 from Salzburg. I met and worked with Professor Perényi when I was 14 at a master class near Vienna. Our time together was remarkable, and I knew that I had found the perfect teacher to guide me along on my musical journey on the violin. I am very grateful to her and she has been an important mentor ever since.

WLB: How much did you know about Hungary and its classical music scene before you arrived?

ML: Since I was still very young, I did not know very much. My experience was limited to having studied only a number of works by Liszt, Bartók and Dohnányi. However, perhaps it is for this very reason that I fell in love with Hungary and the classical music scene! Before long, I was programming masterpieces by Kodály, Hubay, Goldmark and others into my concerts.

There was so much for me to discover and I was fascinated with every new find. For example, practically every week, I would discover yet another historic, beautiful and charming concert hall. As a young violinist, it was a musical paradise and a very inspiring experience, a time when I was constantly performing for a full audience of enthusiastic music lovers. 

Hungary's rich tradition

Miranda Liu: I am still learning more about Hungary's remarkably rich musical history and traditions with each passing day!

WLB: Were you surprised by the kind of talent you found among musicians here?

ML: No. However, I was always proud to be in a country among incredible musicians, such as Miklós Perényi, András Keller and Ádám Medveczky. Thanks to the unique tradition of the Hungarian Violin School initiated by Jenő Hubay and his students at the Liszt Academy, the level of violin-playing has always inspired me.

 WLB: How did the New Millennium festival come about and what does it entail?

ML: It has always been a dream of mine to create a platform to make music together with talented musicians from all over the world and to make new and lasting friendships. The NMICMF was founded with the goal of featuring chamber music masterpieces. Since its inauguration, the wide-ranging repertoire has included duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets and even a septet. Along with the CESQ, the quartet in residence, Central European Strings made its highly successful debut as well. 

The master class component naturally followed, as the festival strives to inspire and support the next generation of musicians. We offer generous scholarships to study with the esteemed faculty, and our mission is to provide opportunities to perform for the talented and dedicated students who attend the festival. Finally, the production and success of a music festival take an enormous amount of organisation, support and teamwork.

I would like to thank my manager Eszter Pista, because without her organisation and expertise, my dream would never have been realised. I am also extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for their generosity and unwavering support. Lastly, I am indebted to the stunning musicians who will be performing and teaching at this year's festival. Their level of dedication and passion for music are astonishing.

WLB: How important are the locations to the event? How much time goes into finding them?

ML: Since 2019, our mission has been to present chamber music in its most authentic form, to share “the music of friends”, and to have the concerts take place at the most inviting and intimate of venues, in the heart of the city. 

This year, a total of ten chamber music concerts will take place, and gems from over 18 composers will be performed at Budapest’s famous venues, known for their architectural heritage, such as the Chamber Hall of the Old Liszt Academy of Music (which itself was Franz Liszt’s living room), the Erdődy-Hatvany Palace and the Hubay Music Salon.

 WLB: After the New Millennium Festival, what plans do you have for the future?

ML: I have a busy concert season ahead! Along with my many concertmaster duties with the Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra, I have numerous string quartet projects. I will also be making solo appearances with orchestras in Hungary with works by Lehár and Dvorak, among others.

I want to continue challenging myself to grow as a musician through the violin, just as I’m doing right now, and share this music with humanity!

Festival information

New Millennium International Chamber Music Festival
26-31 August
Tickets here


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