Yang and Olivia were both students at the University of Cincinnati when they first met. At the time, Yang Liu was a sought after violinist and a prodigy from China. Olivia was an accomplished pianist combining both scholarly and concert activities. While in school, they have each won prizes in competitions, including gold medals in Chinese national competitions and an award in the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (Yang Liu). Their life coincided when Yang, a complete stranger to Olivia, was asked at the last minute by Olivia to turn pages for her at her performance, right there fell in love with Olivia and decided to take her as his wife. Since then, they have performed very successfully together as a couple, sharing stories of love with audiences through their music.
Yang and Olivia have been the featured recitalists for many concert associations, performing in 30 some cities across the United States. They have appeared together as duo internationally and in the U.S. highlighted by performances at major festivals and venues, such as Ravinia Festival, Kennedy Center, Oficina Music Festival in Brazil, Algarve Music Festival in Portugal and throughout their homeland China, among others. They believe music sharing is sharing life and not just a demonstration of technical brilliance and virtuosity. Ultimately, with their performances they want to also communicate their message of faith, love, and joy
Yang Liu is a prize winner of the Twelfth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a first prize winner of China’s National Violin Competition. The New York Times described his playing “a scorching performance”. His repertoire ranges from baroque to the most contemporary of works, and from western classical to eastern traditional
Yang Liu made his North American debut with the Atlanta Symphony orchestra, earning three nights of standing ovations for his performance of Paganini’s First Violin Concerto. This success was followed by performances with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; Hagen Symphony Orchestra, Germany; and many others.
Recently with the Odense Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, under Maestro Christoph Eberle in a highly successful tour throughout China of which a Chinese newspaper commented: "…The Carl Nielsen concerto was soloed by Chinese violinist Yang Liu who gave an absolutely sensational performance which touched the deepest spot of our hearts... Such a musician has been rarely heard for the past ten years..."
He also completes a 5-city tour in China performing the Butterfly Concerto with Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, as part of the China-US cultural exchange initiated by Secretary of State of the US John Kerry, and chairman of the cultural department of China Mr. Luo .
Other recent engagements include concerto performances with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota, Colombia performing Barber’s Violin Concerto under Maestro Amadio. Orchestras repeatedly engage him for his appealing musicality and persona. He has performed multiple times with Ospa State Orchestra in Brazil, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra in China, East Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra, and Highland Park Strings in the US. A highly sought after guest artist and teacher, he performed and taught for many years in Roosevelt University, Columbia College of Music, VanderCook College of Music, Aspen Music Festival, Oficina Music Festival and Sesc Music Festival in Brazil, and the Great Wall Music Festival in China.
In addition to touring as part of Yang and Olivia duo, Olivia (a.k.a. Dr. I-Hsuan Tsai) has appeared as soloist with QingDao Concert Hall Orchestra, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and Highland Park Strings. She was the staff pianist of world renowned Aspen Music Festival and Musicorda Music Festival in US, as well as artist faculty/performer of Oficina Music Festival, Curitiba Music Festival in Brazil and Algarve Music Festival in Portugal. In 2018, she founded Yang and Olivia Foundation and organized a cultural exchange concert where she performed as part of the diverse and dynamic chamber group Momento Virtuosi, celebrating Qingdao’s Sound of Phoenix Grand Theater grand opening.
In addition to performances, She currently serves as chair of Theory and Piano and associate professor at VanderCook College of Music. Her book "Schubert's Piano Trios" was invited to publish by Scholar's Press in Germany, and was published in 2014. She is appointed in 2017 as guest professor at Lanzhou Northwestern University. She also performs at many colleges and universities, including Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Coastal Carolina College in NC and Nebraska University in Kearney.
Dr. Tsai came to the United States in 1993 not only as a pianist, but also a bassoonist. She received her Bachelor of Music degree with high scholastic achievement award in 1996, and Master of Music in both piano and bassoon at Indiana University in Bloomington as Emma E. Claus Scholarship recipient in 1999. She went on to earn her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano at University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (UC, CCM) as a recipient of graduate scholarship, where she also served as faculty at CCM’s preparatory department. During her student years, she was the winner of Buckeye Piano Competition, Graves Piano Competition in the US, and Young Artist Series in Taiwan.