Paris Center Stories: Cindy Liu (CC'18)

Pianist Cindy Liu, CC '18, has twice graced the stage at the Paris Center. Her latest performance of works by Russian composer Serge Prokofiev for the Columbia Sounds Concert Series on Nov. 7, 2017 drew a capacity crowd to the Grande Salle.

January 16, 2018

In summer 2016, I arrived in Paris for the first time, greeting this sprawling, winding, beautifully complex maze with more than a hint of excitement-turned-apprehension. The clouds hung a heavy and sullen for the better part of my first month, doing little to ease the culture shock (as I spoke no French) and general grayness (the architecture, the asphalt). Though I was not attending a Columbia-affiliated summer program at Reid Hall, I found myself gradually spending nearly every day with friends who studied amongst Reid Hall's airy oasis of a courtyard, with its robust blooms and buzzing insects, munching on baguettes and camembert at its tables.

The singular generosity and hospitality of those who make Reid Hall so special - Joelle, Jean-Pierre, Brune, Séverine, professors, friends - shaped my Paris experience into the most memorable three months of my life. Every wave hello, or laugh shared, or hour spent under (by July, thankfully) a blazing sun, made Reid Hall one of the places I most readily called "home" in Paris, a leviathan metropolis that is often misconceived as apathetic or cold. When I returned for a recital in November 2017, that warm glow I came to know so keenly two summer ago infused the audience, transforming the Grand Salle into a space where one could communally share and participate in music. As a musician, there is virtually nothing as important as the community music cultivates, and I'm grateful that I have had the immense honor and privilege of seeing that firsthand at Reid Hall.


Read more about Liu's performance, "Discovering Prokofiev: Music and the Archive"