It is said of his prodigious talent that he would be the envy of Prokofiev and Horowitz. Yuja Wang's assertive, charismatic presence on stage has made her a pianist who is able to break down generational barriers, using her amazing technique as just a tool for the strong stamp of expressiveness with which she infects every note. After her debut as a soloist in 2005 led to the announcement that a star had been born, when she replaced Martha Argerich at the last minute in a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, her world class artistic calibre would be publicly established.
Yuja Wang performs Frédéric Chopin's 24 Préludes, Op.28. Recorded at Teatro La Fenice, on April 03, 2017.
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
♪ 24 Préludes, Op.28 (1838-1839)
i. Prelude in C major [0:39]*
ii. Prelude in A minor [1:21]
iii. Prelude in G major [3:14]
iv. Prelude in E minor [4:24]
v. Prelude in D major [6:12]
vi. Prelude in B minor [6:44]
vii. Prelude in A major [8:36]
viii. Prelude in F sharp minor [9:25]
ix. Prelude in E major [11:17]
x. Prelude in C sharp minor [12:34]
xi. Prelude in B major [13:03]
xii. Prelude in G sharp minor [13:42]
xiii. Prelude in F sharp major [15:05]
xiv. Prelude in E flat minor [18:08]
xv. Prelude in D flat major "Raindrop" [18:57]
xvi. Prelude in B flat minor [24:04]
xvii. Prelude in A flat major [25:09]
xviii. Prelude in F minor [28:12]
xix. Prelude in E flat major [29:09]
xx. Prelude in C minor [30:41]
xxi. Prelude in B flat major [32:13]
xxii. Prelude in G minor [34:01]
xxiii. Prelude in F major [34:47]
xxiv. Prelude in D minor [35:36]
Yuja Wang, piano
Teatro La Fenice, April 03, 2017
* Start time of each Prelude
Frédéric Chopin's 24 Preludes were published in mid-1839, immediately after the composer's wintertime stay with writer George Sand on the island of Majorca. Chopin had been paid 2,000 francs for the copyright by Parisian publisher Camille Pleyel, son of the more famous Ignaz Pleyel. Evidence, some of it in the composer's own correspondence, seems to indicate that the majority of these works were composed in 1837 and 1838. For many of these pieces, the title Prelude can be a misleading one. The practice of "preluding" was very much alive during this period, and Chopin's preluding abilities are well-documented. During a live performance, preluding was a way of preparing the atmosphere of the major work by means of a brief, usually improvised, introductory piece that often made a modulation from the key of the preceding work to the key of the next. And while it is on record that Chopin did in fact employ some of the Preludes in this way, it seems indisputable that the real intent was for the Preludes to stand on their own, preferably in a complete performance. The selection of title may also be a nod in the direction of J.S. Bach, whose own Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor keys, better known as the two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier, exerted a heavy influence on Chopin.
The gamut of emotions contained within the collection of 24 preludes is impressive. None of them is particularly long, and some of them, like the very first, are of almost disconcerting brevity. The truncated formal structures and abbreviated phrase patterns that result from this general miniaturization, far from diminishing the works' expressive power, actually serve to focus each of the pieces in an extraordinarily effective way. On a large scale, the 24 Preludes are organized by key group: C major, its relative minor A minor, G major, its relative minor E major, and so on, moving up the circle of fifths until the final Prelude in D minor.
Source: Blair Johnston (allmusic.com)
Yuja Wang was born in Beijing on February 10, 1987, and encouraged at a young age to make music by her dancer mother and percussionist father, starting the never-ending thirst for knowledge that has sustained her musical development. Yuja began piano lessons at the age of six and her progress was accelerated by studies at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. In 1999 she moved to Canada to participate in the Morningside Music summer programme at Calgary's Mount Royal College and thereafter enrolled as the youngest ever student at Mount Royal Conservatory. Wang's exceptional gifts were widely recognised in 2001 with her appointment as a Steinway Artist, and again the following year when she was offered a place at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Gary Graffman.
By the time Yuja graduated from the Curtis Institute in May 2008, she had already gathered momentum following the spectacular success of her debut three years earlier with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. Wang attracted widespread international attention in March 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice in performances of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and within the span of just a few seasons she was working with conductors of the highest calibre. Over the past ten years of her career, she has worked with such pre-eminent Maestros as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, and Zubin Mehta.
In January 2009 Yuja Wang became an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. Her debut album, Sonatas & Etudes, prompted Gramophone to name her as its 2009 Young Artist of the Year. Her 2011 release of Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category. Subsequent releases for the yellow label include Fantasia, an album of encore pieces by Albéniz, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin, and others; a live recording of Prokofiev's Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, and an acclaimed coupling of Ravel's two piano concertos with Fauré's Ballade, recorded with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and Lionel Bringuier. Reviewers around the world have documented the full range of Wang's work, capturing the essence of her musicianship and observing the development of an artist blessed with consummate technical prowess, an inexhaustible creative imagination, and an unmatched stamina.
She was recently described by the New York Times as "one of the best young pianists around" and hailed by the Sydney Morning Herald for her "blistering technique". In July 2015 the Los Angeles Times declared: "Hers is a nonchalant, brilliant keyboard virtuosity that would have made both Prokofiev (who was a great pianist) and even the fabled Horowitz jealous". The combination of critical acclaim, audience ovations, return engagements at leading international venues, and an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon confirm the 29-year old pianist's status as one of this century's most compelling artists.
The international reach and artistic breadth of Yuja Wang's 2016-2017 schedule reflects the strong demand for her work. She unveils her new season in the summer of 2016 with a run of recitals, chamber concerts and concerto performances at the Salzburg, Wolftrap, Tanglewood, Verbier and Baltic Sea festivals including collaborations with Matthias Goerne, Leonidas Kavakos, Lionel Bringuier, Gustavo Gimeno and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Following her initial NCPA residency concerts, Wang embarks on an extensive recital tour of China and Japan in September before traveling to the United States to open the Philadelphia Orchestra's season with three performances of Chopin's Piano Concerto No.2 in partnership with Yannick-Nézet-Séguin.
Yuja's way of making music connects with a strikingly broad audience. It appeals to everyone, from newcomers to the concert hall to devoted pianophiles, and has attracted an exceptionally youthful following. Her love for fashion, recently recognised by her induction into Giorgio Armani's Sì Women's Circle, has also contributed to the popular appeal of an artist who is armed with the ability to challenge convention and win fresh converts to classical music. She is set to broaden her audience throughout the 2016-2017 season, not least through her term as Artist-in-Residence at China's National Centre for the Performing Arts as well as the Konserthuset in Stockholm. The Beijing-born pianist returns to her home city in August for the first of six specially curated concerts at the NCPA, where she will explore programmes of Romantic and 20th-century repertoire in solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts. Her time in Stockholm will be filled by chamber music with Leonidas Kavakos, Bartok with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Sakari Oramo as well as a recital programme.
Other bold highlights of Yuja Wang's 2016-2017 season include a nine-concert Asian tour with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas; performances of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda at New York's Lincoln Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and an extensive spring tour of Europe with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Antonio Pappano. In December she joins forces with percussionist Martin Grubinger for concerts in Vienna, Munich, Zurich, and Tel Aviv, and marks the new year with extensive recital tours of Europe and the United States with violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Wang will also undertake a major solo European recital tour in March and April, complete with concerts in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and London, and many other cities.
Over the next season's course, Yuja will explore everything from chamber works by Beethoven and Brahms to concertos by Chopin and Shostakovich. Her profound affinity for Bartók falls under the spotlight when she explores each of the composer's three piano concertos, with performances of individual works in Beijing, Cleveland, Dallas, Guangzhou, Stockholm, Taiwan and Toronto, and of the complete set with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel over two consecutive weeks in May and June.
Yuja's 2017-2018 season features recitals, concert series, and extensive tours with some of the world's most venerated ensembles and conductors. She begins the summer of 2017 on tour with the London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas and a programme featuring Brahms' Piano Concerto No.2, followed by a performance of the first concerto at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Lionel Bringuier. Later engagements include concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, a series of performances at the Verbier Festival, and a three-city German tour with the St Petersburg Philharmonic.
She also embarks on play-conduct tours with two of the best chamber orchestras in the world, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, as well as joining the inaugural tour of Jaap van Zweden with the New York Philharmonic and the final tour of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's directorship with the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Other notable appearances include concerts in Hong Kong, Miami, Washington D.C., Prague, Tel Aviv, and Berlin.
Winter of 2017 sees Yuja reunite with violinist and frequent collaborator Leonidas Kavakos for a European chamber tour, whilst in the spring of 2018, Yuja Wang will embark on a vast-reaching recital tour at premiere venues in the US and Europe; New York City, San Francisco, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and beyond.
Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No.1 in A major – Yuja Wang, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor | Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Yuja Wang, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (Audio video & Download 96kHz/24bit)
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue – Yuja Wang, Camerata Salzburg, Lionel Bringuier
Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major – Yuja Wang, Camerata Salzburg, Lionel Bringuier
George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major | Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.5 in D minor – Yuja Wang, London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas
Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor – Yuja Wang, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Yuri Termikanov (HD 1080p)
Yuja Wang and the Art of Performance
Maurice Ravel: Piano Concertos – Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier (Audio video)
Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Yuja Wang, Berliner Philharmoniker, Paavo Järvi
Yuja Wang plays Robert Schumann, Maurice Ravel and Ludwig van Beethoven at Verbier Festival 2016
Yuja Wang, the pianist who will not go quietly
Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C major – Yuja Wang, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
Leonidas Kavakos, violin & Yuja Wang, piano
Johannes Brahms: The Violin Sonatas – Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang (Audio video)
Johannes Brahms: Sonata for piano and violin No.2 in A major – Yuja Wang, Leonidas Kavakos
Maurice Ravel: Sonata for violin and piano No.1 in A minor – Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang
Ottorino Respighi: Violin Sonata in B minor – Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang