13-Year-Old Plainsboro Resident Hosts Piano Recital Benefiting Plainsboro Rescue Squad

By Erin Pedrini
Web Production Assistant

Charlie Liu practicing piano in his home. Photo by Erin Pedrini.

“It feels great to help people through what I am good at,” said 13-year-old Plainsboro resident Charlie Liu. Charlie plays piano and will be performing at his second benefit solo recital on Sunday, Aug. 17 in Princeton, benefiting the Plainsboro Rescue Squad.

Charlie has been playing piano since he was 4 years old. He said that he started playing a simple piece for his preschool talent show and when he performed the piece well, he kept playing piano.

Since he started playing, Charlie has accomplished a lot with his music. He was the youngest ever Lang Lang International Music Foundation Scholar winner. He performed at Carnegie Hall, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, on the Oprah Winfrey Show and has performed at venues all over the United States. He has performed in front of Queen Rania of Jordan, Bono of U2, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Daughtry and John Legend. Charlie had also been a winner in more than 20 piano solo competitions, including first place in the New Jersey and Massachusetts State competitions and won concerto competitions multiple times. Charlie has soloed with various orchestras as well.

“I like just being able to express myself through music and sharing it with other people,” said Charlie.

Charlie said that his favorite composer is Chopin because he feels that Chopin channels a lot of emotion into his pieces.

Charlie’s father, Mingyi Liu, said that another one of Charlie’s idols is Lang Lang because he is not only a great pianist but also cares about the community and music education for kids. Mingyi said that even before Charlie was selected to be a Lang Lang scholar, he was already doing charity events, but seeing his idol participate in charity projects served as inspiration.

Mingyi said that Charlie loves interacting with other musicians because with piano, if you are always practicing alone, that can be lonely.

Charlie said that he chose to play a benefit concert because, “Helping other people is always nice and since I am good at music, it just works out.” He said that he is choosing to give the donation money from the concert to the Plainsboro Rescue Squad because the squad helped his brother when he was sick.

Mingyi said that he and Charlie are expecting 100 to 200 people to attend the concert. He said they are not setting their minds on a dollar amount to raise because it is really about getting the message out and doing a good thing and just letting people know about the Plainsboro Rescue Squad.

The benefit recital is being held on Sunday, Aug. 17 at Channing Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton at 3 p.m. The concert is free to attend but donations for the rescue squad are encouraged. Charlie will be performing pieces by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy.