Shalin Liu Performance Center

Evening inside the performance hall of Rockport Music's Shalin Liu Performance Center
The facade is completed prior to the May 22 Tuning the Hall for the Community concerts.

A Home for Rockport Music and the Rockport Chamber Music Festival

On June 10, 2010, Rockport Music opened the doors to the Shalin Liu Performance Center. We believe this extraordinary building – with its spectacular views and superb acoustics – has become an important cultural resource for the greater Boston community, attracting well-known performers, audiences, and visitors to Cape Ann.

The performance center, designed to showcase chamber music, is the home of Rockport Music’s signature presentation, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which includes over 20 concerts, as well as pre-concert lectures, open rehearsals and free events for families. In order to appeal to a broad range of tastes, the center also hosts the Rockport Jazz Festival, as well as a diverse series of classical, jazz, folk, world and pop music concerts; HD broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and England’s National Theatre and films.

An Elegant Building Where All Are Welcome

The exuberant and festive design of the new performance center honors its historic Rockport setting, but incorporates state-of-the art amenities, including:

  • An air-conditioned concert hall with extraordinary acoustics and comfortable seating for 330 people
  • Professional quality audio-visual equipment for the presentation of film and live HD broadcasts
  • Oceanfront reception space on the third floor, with stunning views of the coastline, for educational, social, civic and corporate events (catering kitchen available for use)
  • We serve wine and beer with a selection of food, including cheese and fruit, cakes, muffins, nuts and other items. Bar and concessions open one hour prior to performances and during intermission.
  • Full ADA accessibility
  • Watch a brief video tour of the Shalin Liu Perfromance Center.

A Community Resource

As a unique regional venue, the Shalin Liu Performance Center offers opportunities to local educational, arts, business and civic groups, including performance, rehearsal and educational programs for local public schools. Community and business groups can rent the facility for meetings and special events as well. LEARN MORE

Open Houses for the Shalin Liu Performance Center

The Shalin Liu Performance Center is open during summer months (June-August) for viewing.  Docent hours*

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday

*Due to rehearsals and other scheduled events, sometimes the Hall cannot be available for the open house, so please check with the box office to check a specific date.  

During June-August, the Shalin Liu Performance Center will have open lobby hours for information and viewing (if available) every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am-2pm.  This is in addition to the docent-hosted open house periods.

The Design Team

The construction of the Shalin Liu Performance Center was a collaboration between lead architects Alan Joslin and Deborah Epstein (Epstein Joslin Architects, Cambridge, MA) and internationally known acoustician R. Lawrence Kirkegaard (Kirkegaard Associates, Chicago, IL). Joslin and Kirkegaard have worked together on performing arts venues for over 20 years, beginning with the design of Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood for the Boston Symphony Orchestra

“I have had the great pleasure of witnessing an inspired collective vision that sees the importance of classical music and musical creativity as vital to the enrichment of the human spirit, and recognizes a responsibility to keep this alive not only through performances of the highest standards, but also through education, whether that be in the schools or through adult lifelong learning. May the new building articulate these beliefs and show the respect Rockport Music has for the region that has helped nurtured its success.” — Alan Joslin, Principal-in-Charge, Epstein Joslin Architects

Interior Highlights

  • Design embraces the cultural and natural legacies of Cape Ann
  • Naturalistic themes of wood, stone and water woven through design
  • Wood from both Douglas Fir (structural framework) and American Walnut (design millwork)
  • Walls clad in stone to reflect the rocky coast of Rockport, and beneficial to room acoustics
  • Implied curves of the woodwork designed to produce ripple effect reflecting seascape
  • Floor to ceiling window behind stage captures the natural majesty of Rockport Harbor

Construction Timeline

1860’s—Approximate original building construction; became known as the Haskins Building, often the site of “Sociables” in town

2005—Site selected for Rockport Music’s new home, the Shalin Liu Performance Center

2006—Rockport Music officially purchases building

October 2008—Demolition of Haskins Building

April 2009—Site excavation underway

June 2009—First floor construction begins

October 2009—Timber frame rises; wood framing begins for front of building

December 2009—Floor to ceiling window installed at back of stage

January 2010—Construction of third floor reception space begins

April 2010—Final touches on interior; “hard hat” concert successfully tests room acoustics

May 2010—Facade completed

May 21, 2010—“Tuning the Hall for the Community” concert

June 10, 2010—Rockport Music’s Shalin Liu Performance Center officially opens with a concert featuring Bruce Hangen conducting an ensemble of thirteen for Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.

PHOTO CREDIT: Header: Robert Benson Photography OTHER PHOTOS: Robert Benson Photography and J. Campbell (construction photos)