|Born||February 10, 1987|
Yuja Wang (Chinese: 王羽佳; pinyin: Wáng Yǔjiā; born February 10, 1987) is a Chinese pianist. Born in Beijing, she began learning the piano there at age six, and went on to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. By the age of 21, she was already an internationally recognized concert pianist and signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. She has since established herself as one of the leading artists of her generation. Wang currently lives in New York.
Early life and education
Wang comes from an artistic family. Her mother, Zhai Jieming, is a dancer and her father, Wang Jianguo, is a percussionist. Both live in Beijing.
Wang began learning the piano at age six. At age seven, she began studies at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. At age eleven, Wang entered the Morningside Music Bridge International Music Festival (at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta) as the festival's youngest student.
At the age of fifteen, Wang entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she studied for five years with Gary Graffman and graduated in 2008. Graffman said that Wang's technique impressed him during her audition, but "it was the intelligence and good taste" of her interpretations that distinguished her.
In 1998, at the age of eleven, Wang received third prize in the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists in Germany. Three years later, she won the third prize and the special jury prize (awarded to an outstanding finalist less than 20 years of age, with prize money of 500,000 Japanese yen) at the first Sendai International Music Competition in Sendai, Japan.
In 2003, Wang made her European debut with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Switzerland, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 under the baton of David Zinman. She made her North American debut in Ottawa in the 2005–2006 season, replacing Radu Lupu performing that Beethoven concerto with Pinchas Zukerman conducting.
On September 11, 2005, Wang was named a 2006 biennial Gilmore Young Artist Award winner, given to the most promising pianists age 22 and younger. As part of the award, she received $15,000, appeared at Gilmore Festival concerts, and had a new piano work commissioned for her.
In 2006, Wang made her New York Philharmonic debut at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. The following season, she performed with the orchestra under Lorin Maazel during a tour of Japan and Korea by the Philharmonic.
In March 2007, Wang's breakthrough came when she replaced Martha Argerich in concerts held in Boston. Argerich had cancelled her appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on four subscription concerts from March 8 to 13. Wang performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Charles Dutoit conducting.
In 2008, Wang toured the U.S. with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields led by Sir Neville Marriner. In 2009, she performed as a soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, led by Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. Wang performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado in Beijing, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Spain and in London, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2009, Wang performed and recorded Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G Minor with Kurt Masur at the Verbier Festival, accompanied by Kirill Troussov, David Aaron Carpenter, Maxim Rysanov, Sol Gabetta, and Leigh Mesh. Her performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" is featured on the Verbier Festival highlights DVD from 2008.
In February 2013, Wang performed and recorded Prokofiev's Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Venezuelan Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar. Also in 2013, Wang's recital tour of Japan culminated with her recital debut at Tokyo's Suntory Hall.
Wang made her Berlin Philharmonic debut in May 2015, performing Sergei Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto with Conductor Paavo Järvi. The performance was broadcast live through the orchestra's Digital Concert Hall.
In a departure from her previously predominantly Russian repertoire, Wang played Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, the Jeunehomme, in February 2016 at David Geffen Hall in New York on four successive nights with Charles Dutoit conducting, then, in her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev in Munich and Paris.
In March 2016, Wang played for three nights in Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. In a recital at Carnegie Hall in May 2016, she played Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29, the Hammerklavier, and two Brahms Ballades and Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana.
Wang performed with the National Youth Orchestra of China for its Carnegie Hall premiere on July 22, 2017, with conductor Ludovic Morlot of the Seattle Symphony, performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor.
Wang has performed with all the major orchestras in the USA, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Internationally, Wang has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Staatskapelle Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the China Philharmonic among others.
In a review of her 2011 Carnegie Hall debut, The New York Times wrote:
From the opening piece, an early Scriabin prelude, Ms. Wang played this Chopinesque music, all rippling left-hand figures, and dreamy melodic lines, with a delicacy, poetic grace, and attention to inner musical details that commanded respect. After intermission she offered a rhapsodic, uncommonly nuanced account of the formidable Liszt Sonata in B minor. But the most revealing performance came in Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6 in A. Completed in 1940, this nearly 30-minute work channels some barbaric, propulsive, harmonically brittle outbursts into a formal four-movement sonata structure. In most readings, intriguing tension results from hearing the music of such aggressive modernism reined in by Neo-Classical constraints. Ms. Wang reconciled these conflicting elements through a performance of impressive clarity and detail.
In June 2012, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Wang is "quite simply, the most dazzlingly, uncannily gifted pianist in the concert world today, and there's nothing left to do but sit back, listen and marvel at her artistry."
From a May 2013 Carnegie Hall concert, The New York Times reported that Wang's "fortissimos were fearsome, but so, in a quieter way, were the longing melodic lines of the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Sonata No. 2." The reviewer added:
The liquidity of her phrasing in the second movement of Scriabin's Sonata No. 2 eerily evoked the sound of woodwinds. In that composer's Sonata No. 6 she juxtaposed colors granitic and gauzy to eerily brilliant effect before closing the written program with a rabid rendition of the one-piano version of "La valse", accentuating the sickliness of Ravel's distorted waltzes.
In May 2016, The New York Times reviewed her performance of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata:
Ms. Wang's virtuosity goes well beyond the uncanny facility. Right through this Beethoven performance she wondrously brought out intricate details, inner voices, and harmonic colorings. The first movement had élan and daring. The scherzo skipped along with mischievousness and rhythmic bite. In the grave, with great slow movement, she played with restraint and poignancy. She kept you on edge during the elusive transition to the gnarly, dense fugue, which she then dispatched with unfathomable dexterity. This was not a probing or profound Hammerklavier. But I admired Ms. Wang's combination of youthful energy and musical integrity.
|Wang at the Hollywood Bowl, 2011|
Wang has received attention for her eye-catching outfits and glamorous stage presence as well as for her piano playing. In a much-quoted 2011 review of a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Times classical music critic Mark Swed wrote:
But it was Yuja Wang's orange dress for which Tuesday night is likely to be remembered… Her dress Tuesday was so short and tight that had there been any less of it, the Bowl might have been forced to restrict admission to any music lover under 18 not accompanied by an adult. Had her heels been any higher, walking, to say nothing of her sensitive pedaling, would have been unfeasible.
In 2017, Michael Levin of the HuffPost described Wang after her concert with Leonidas Kavakos at David Geffen Hall as "one of the most talented, enthralling, and even mesmerizing performers on the world scene".
Works written for and premiered by Wang include the following:
- Artless Pages (Seven Impromptus for Piano) by Rodion Shchedrin: Église de Verbier in Verbier, Switzerland (1 August 2009) 
- Piano Concerto by Jennifer Higdon: National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., United States (3 December 2009) 
- You Come Here Often? for solo piano by Michael Tilson Thomas: Barbican Centre in London, United Kingdom (15 March 2015) 
- Farewell My Concubine for Peking Opera Soprano and Piano by Tan Dun: Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra conducted by Long Yu, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, China (31 July 2015) 
- Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? by John Adams: Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, USA (7 March 2019) 
- Piano Concerto by Teddy Abrams: Louisville Orchestra conducted by Teddy Abrams, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville, USA (7 January 2022) 
- Piano Concerto No. 3 by Magnus Lindberg: San Francisco Symphony conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, USA (13 October 2022) 
Other pieces that received world premieres with Wang as soloist include the following:
- Cello Sonata by Evgeny Kissin: with cellist Gautier Capuçon, Salle des Combins in Verbier, Switzerland (25 July 2016) 
- The food of love by Carlo Galante: Filarmonica della Scala conducted by Daniele Rustioni, La Scala in Milan, Italy (23 February 2015) 
- 2009: Sonatas & Etudes
- 2009: Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 with Verbier Festival Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur – live at Verbier Festival, Switzerland
- 2009: Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado – live at Lucerne Festival, Switzerland
- 2010: Transformation
- 2010: Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin and Prokofiev – live at Verbier Festival, Switzerland
- 2011: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 & Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado – live in Ferrara, Italy
- 2011: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 with Verbier Festival Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov – live at Verbier Festival, Switzerland
- 2012: Fantasia
- 2014: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 & Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 with Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar de Venezuela conducted by Gustavo Dudamel – live in Caracas, Venezuela
- 2014: Brahms: The Violin Sonatas with Leonidas Kavakos
- 2015: Maurice Ravel Complete Orchestral Works with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich conducted by Lionel Bringuier
- 2017: The Asia Tour with Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle – live in Wuhan, China
- 2018: The Berlin Recital – live from Berlin, Germany
- 2018: The Peace Concert Versailles with Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Franz Welser-Möst – live at Palace of Versailles, France
- 2019: Blue Hour with Andreas Ottensamer
- 2019: Sommernachtskonzert: Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue with Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Gustavo Dudamel – live at Schönbrunn Palace, Austria
- 2019: Franck, Chopin with Gautier Capuçon
- 2020: Adams Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? with Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
- 2020: Rachmaninov Cello Sonata, Op. 19 with Lynn Harrell – live at Verbier Festival 2008
- 2023: The American Project featuring You Come Here Often? by Michael Tilson Thomas and Piano Concerto by Teddy Abrams
- 2023: The Verbier Festival Debut Recital 2008 – live at Verbier Festival 2008
- 2006: Gilmore Young Artist Award
- 2009: Gramophone Young Artist of the Year
- 2009, 2011, 2018, 2019, 2023: Grammy Award nominee
- 2010: Avery Fisher Career Grant
- 2011: Echo Klassik Awards - Young Artist of the Year
- 2017: Musical America - Artist of the Year 
- 2019: Gramophone - Instrumental Award for The Berlin Recital
- 2021: Opus Klassik for recording of John Adams: Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?
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- Woolfie, Zachary (January 31, 2023). "Review: Yuja Wang Sweeps Through a Rachmaninoff Marathon - It was a momentous occasion as Wang played all five of Rachmaninoff's works for piano and orchestra at Carnegie Hall for one show only. - Comment". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
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- Prizewinners 1998, Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists
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- "Prom 35: Yuja Wang with the Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä". BBC Music Events. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
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She released her debut CD in 1995...
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Yuja Wang's debut CD was released in 1995.
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Wang released her very début CD in 1995.
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