Shalin Liu Rockport Performance Center

I caught the Hanneke Cassel performance this past Saturday as the Rockport Performance Center tuned the new hall.

Imagine this nice performance but instead of the muddled acoustics of Passims you have the absolute clarity of a finely tuned musical instrument which is what the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport is today.

Agent 99 over on Cape Anne online said it best:

I’m so in awe of this beautiful new venue. What an incredible treasure to the town. We also had the good fortune to catch Cassel’s performance at 6 and loved every second. She’s got that wonderful blend of raw talent and charisma. We will definitely look for her again. The size of the room just makes it feel all the more intimate. The sound is perfect. A person on stage can whisper with no microphone and someone in the last seat of the mezzanine can hear it perfectly. The design is beyond beautiful. They’ve used slate in an undulating pattern on the walls to create one of the acoustic elements but is visually stunning as well. On stage what looks like an undulating wall of stone actually slides open hiding a glorious grand piano that can glide on and off stage with the touch of a finger. Verklempt!

Shalin Liu: How do you pronounce it? Hanneke asked this question between sets and the answer was that I have been mispronouncing it. The answer is British footwear in a bathroom. That’s right, “Shoe in loo”. Sorry about that but you will now never mispronounce it again but you will never forgot my dumb mnemonic. What really blew me away is how enormous the space is when compared to the lot size they shoe horned this building into. Truly an architectural feat. (Oh wait, shoe horned in, small space, feat, I feel a bad pun attack … )

OK, so this is me being a jackass right before the start of the concert. You can see how the side doors open to get the piano, or chairs. You can also see the weaved shutter which covers the huge window backstage.

Fiddlers on stage window shuttered:

Fiddlers on stage window open:

This window is going to be even more impressive once the scaffolding outside the building is removed.

I can see Andrew’s Point!

Taking a curtain call:

They were so good we bought two CDs and Hanneke autographed them for my daughter. I had to drive my son up to Vermont back to college and fiddle music was a pleasant way to enjoy the drive through the Berkshires.


  • I regret not being able to be at this show! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂


  • If you liked Hanneke, you should check out the Irish group Lunasa. Mind blowing!


    • I love youtube for checking out performers I have never heard about. They’re on my list now. I can’t get enough Doc Watson type bluegrass and anyone with a fiddle.

      Lunasa playing Morning Nightcap

      Shady Grove by Doc Watson:


  • Flattered to be quoted in your piece Paul! Thanks for posting a clip, too! I believe that Hanneke Cassel mentioned that she is a Berklee College of Music grad and the cellist a Boston Conservatory grad. I’m so grateful that this area is so rich with cultural opportunity for our kids.


  • I’m pretty sure the pronunciation is SHA (soft A sound) LYNN LOO – more like ‘shhhh! lynn’s in the loo.’

    I inquired as well as I had been pronouncing Ms. Liu’s first name with a hard A sound (SHAY LYNN) which was politely corrected by one of the staff.

    The piano quintet at 1 pm was also awesome & we are lucky to have such a wonderful venue in Cape Ann.


    • When Hanneke asked what the pronunciation was the consensus on my ears of at least 50 people at once was that a shoe, not Lynn, was in the loo. But having so many at once answering might have thrown me off.

      Your mnemonic might be better than mine. “shh Lynn’s in the loo!”

      Shoe in loo. Hmm.


  • Paul, very glad to have you on the team as the official GMG Rockport affiliate. Great work here!


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