Yuhan Liu

2021 International Women's Day Nominee - Yuhan Liu

Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history.

I was born in Shenyang, China and have lived there for roughly 11 years before moving to Canada. I have lived in Brandon ever since. The heavily competitive and strict educational environment in China made my transition into Canada quite an interesting experience. Shortly prior to moving, I had the privilege of attending a private boarding school, where I have consequently acquired outmost appreciation and gratitude for the simplest pleasures in life. Coming from a family of doctors, nurses, and teachers, I have always aimed to be a diligent and studious individual. Later, in the exploration of many interests I discovered the importance of passion in choosing a career. While I would often express that music is my passion, I find this passion to truly reside in the authenticity, vulnerability, and fundamental humanity expressed through art.

What education have you taken?

I am currently completing a Bachelor in Music specializing in Voice Performance.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I do enjoy some of the musical accomplishments I have made during my time at BU in the BU Concerto Competition and Brandon Festival of the Arts, but I would say I am most proud of my personal development accomplishments throughout the years. It feels good to learn and grow and realize who I am and what I want to do. It feels good to take great pride in my identity as Chinese, Canadian, a musician, an artist, a woman, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and to support, celebrate, and advocate for these communities. I find this process of growth and self-discovery to be a crucial part of being an artist.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

My passion for music began in challenging times. I found music to be an incredibly accommodating shelter from reality in my youth and adolescence and utilized it as a tool for expression. I have eventually grown out of this exclusive relationship with music and started to cherish and adore it as an art form (I am immensely grateful for this), but today I still have an intimate connection with the way it comforted and transformed me. I was able to find so much joy and healing in music, and therefore it was something I wanted to share with the world. As I have mentioned before, my family consists of many highly educated individuals, and I have always felt the pressure to pursue a career that would satisfy their expectations. However, I have also grown to understand that circumstances were immensely different when they were approaching adulthood, and that the market for work in China was intensely competitive and still is. While it was a terrifying and difficult process, I was able to get my family’s approval and support. I feel extremely privileged to be able to pursue something I am passionate about, and to be able to connect with so many talented, like-minded individuals like my peers and my professors at BU who remind me every day of why I choose to do what I do. I firmly believe that art has the power to move, to transform, and to heal like it did for me, and that is why I will continue to pursue it.

What is your philosophy in life?

Be willing to listen, willing to learn, willing to grow and choose kindness.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I wish to move into graduate studies in Vocal Performance and perhaps pursue somewhat of an entrepreneurial career in music. I hope to use music as a tool to prompt good change, and to create a community that is diverse, caring, inclusive and progressive. I don’t quite have a clear idea of where exactly I would be and I’m quite okay with that. I consider myself to be a spontaneous, free-spirited individual. I suppose wherever I end up, I will continue to live my life in the jolly, humorous, enthusiastic, and passionate manner like I have been.

What do you #ChooseToChallenge?

I #ChooseToChallenge musicians to educate themselves about the cultural, racial, social, gender biases in music and create a more compassionate and inclusive community

Nominator’s Comments:

Yuhan Liu is a fourth-year vocal performance major in the School of Music. A top student in the voice program, Yuhan earns consistent honours academically, as well as in performance, including being chosen the winner of the 2020 BU Orchestra Concerto Competition. She has also received top prizes in the Brandon Festival of the Arts and at Manitoba’s Provincial Music Festival. In addition to her work as a student, Yuhan contributes to the greater Brandon community as an instructor for Career Trek, where she mentors school age children in career-building educational programs. I would call Yuhan a quiet leader — someone who treats others with compassion and understanding — who observes and listens first, and then speaks with wisdom beyond her years. Yuhan is hardworking, humble, strong, kind and very funny, carrying a light with her wherever she goes. As a musician, Yuhan is committed to exploring, promoting, and performing music of underrepresented composers, particularly women and composers of colour. Yuhan uses her voice to promote inclusivity, tolerance, awareness, and respect.