Pianist Yuja Wang

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slofstra
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Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:21 pm

Watch out for this up-and-coming young pianist.

We saw her perform last Saturday with the K-W Symphony. The piece was Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto, and much of it was absolutely lovely, especially the first movement. Some of the passages could have used a little more weight though.
If it was only for that performance, as good as it was, I probably wouldn't make a special post. For the encore Wang performed a jazzed-up version of the Rondo a la Turk and I've never seen such a display of pyrotechnic virtuosity. I could believe neither my eyes or my ears.
Maestro Outwater announced that Wang had just been signed by Deutsche Gramophon, so be on the watch for her first recording. I hope it contains music that leverages the pyrotechnical ability we saw on display that evening, rather than trotting out the old warhorses.

Check this out:




http://www.yujawang.com
Last edited by slofstra on Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lance
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Lance » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:38 pm

A NEW one for me, Henry. I'll keep watch. Is she another of those exceptional talents from China or Korea?
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slofstra
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:53 pm

Lance wrote:A NEW one for me, Henry. I'll keep watch. Is she another of those exceptional talents from China or Korea?
Born in Beijing. I think she has some Canadian or American connection though.

I found more information on her upcoming CD release.

"Yuja is an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon. For her debut recording, titled Sonatas & Etudes, to be released in the U.S. in February 2009, she presents a technically challenging, musically integrated program of sonatas including Chopin’s “Funeral March”, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, and Scriabin’s Sonata no. 2, and etudes by Ligeti. (http://www.opus3artists.com/artists/yuja-wang)"

And that sounds like suitably demanding repertoire.

Here is the DG press release on the record deal, signed a couple of weeks ago: http://www.opus3artists.com/news/?id=854

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Lance » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:18 am

Very fine write-up, Henry. She sounds (and looks) like real find! It looks like a most impressive debut disc (just like Martha Argerich's was for DGG.) I'm so pleased DGG is seemingly doing so well in the classical music market. It appears DGG and EMI are the leaders today, still issuing classical recordings much more frequently than others, and they are discovering new talents.
slofstra wrote:
Lance wrote:A NEW one for me, Henry. I'll keep watch. Is she another of those exceptional talents from China or Korea?
Born in Beijing. I think she has some Canadian or American connection though.

I found more information on her upcoming CD release.

"Yuja is an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon. For her debut recording, titled Sonatas & Etudes, to be released in the U.S. in February 2009, she presents a technically challenging, musically integrated program of sonatas including Chopin’s “Funeral March”, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, and Scriabin’s Sonata no. 2, and etudes by Ligeti. (http://www.opus3artists.com/artists/yuja-wang)"

And that sounds like suitably demanding repertoire.

Here is the DG press release on the record deal, signed a couple of weeks ago: http://www.opus3artists.com/news/?id=854
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:55 am

slofstra wrote:
Lance wrote:A NEW one for me, Henry. I'll keep watch. Is she another of those exceptional talents from China or Korea?
Born in Beijing. I think she has some Canadian or American connection though.
A Potential Canadian, eh.. :wink:
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:32 am

> slofstra wrote: Watch out for this up-and-coming young pianist ... For the encore Wang performed a jazzed-up version of the Rondo a la Turk and I've never seen such a display of pyrotechnic virtuosity. I could believe neither my eyes or my ears.


Agreed! See below for a clip I posted earlier of Wang playing said Rondo Alla Turca. Ricordanza's concert review is also embedded within the thread:

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... hilit=yuja




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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:45 am

Thanks for posting the link to my review. As you can see, I have been "watching" Yuja Wang for some time now. In fact, here's a review I wrote in January 2005 (before joining CMG):

A future star in the piano world – Yuja Wang (January 16, 2005)
On Sunday afternoon, we were among a group of eight who headed to the New Jersey State Theatre in New Brunswick to hear 17-year-old Yuja Wang perform the Grieg Piano Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Of course, there was more to the program than that, but there's no denying that for our group (one of whom served as Yuja’s legal guardian when she first came from China to the Curtis Institute to study), the main focus of this concert was to hear this pianist in this important step in her career as a performer. I can also say, after hearing her play for only the second time (and the first time with an orchestra), Yuja demonstrated why she is receiving increasing attention in the musical world.

Yuja's performance of this familiar work was passionate and exciting. The lush melodies could become syrupy in the wrong hands, but everything she did was in good taste. There are plenty of moments for virtuosic display--and display she did in the cadenza and elsewhere--yet throughout the piece, she showed her musical maturity by working with the orchestra to produce an effective interplay of ensemble and soloist.

The Grieg concerto was the middle work in a program that began with Danish composer Niels Gade's Hamlet Overture. But before leading the orchestra in that work, guest conductor Anu Tali (a young and strikingly attractive woman, if I can be permitted that observation) spoke to the audience about the afternoon's program. Even if the English of this Estonian musician was slightly fractured, I welcome efforts such as hers to break down the barriers of formality between classical musicians and their audiences. As for the music, well, I found the Gade overture pleasant, but not particularly memorable.

The final work in the program was more substantial--Sibelius' majestic Fifth Symphony. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is famous of late for the acquisition of a number of Italian-made string instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries. The source of those instruments--Herbert Axelrod--and the value he placed on those instruments may be controversial, but there is no question about the beauty of the sound of the orchestra's string section. The brass and winds are not quite as polished, but overall, the performance of this symphony (especially those final six chords!) was effective and moving.

After the concert, Yuja and her mother (recently arrived from China and unable, unfortunately, to understand anything the rest of us had to say) joined the eight of us for dinner at a nearby restaurant. Although she comes across in conversation as a giggly teenager, in performance she is in full command. I look forward to a great future for her.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Donaldopato » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:26 am

She is a favorite here in KC. I have heard her in 3 concerts, 2 with Orchestra and one solo recital. Her first performance was Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody. In her second appearance she played Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto # 1. Her solo recital was Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Chopin and Schumann.

I didn't review the other two for some reason, but here is the Rachmaninoff:

No illustrative talk was needed for Rachmaninoff's popular Rhapsody. The soloist was Yuja Wang, a 19 yr old student at the Curtis institute of Music in Philadelphia. She appeared as part of a relationship between Curtis and the Symphony to introduce some of their top talent.

I have to admit some of my prejudice (we all have them so get over it); were we going to hear another oriental wunderkind, full of technique and ability to get all the notes but not having a lick of musicality? When Leon Fleisher played the Beethoven Emperor here at the opening concert, it was obvious he was not back to his prime form. The long period of his disability and the ravages of time showed. But the communication and the courage of the artist triumphed despite numerous technical flaws. Give me Alfred Cortot's wrong notes but incredible phrasing and lyricism in Chopin and Fleisher's ability to communicate the music over some technocrat any day.

This prejudice was blown away immediately by Wang's lovely lyricism and deep understanding of this technically challenging piece. Her phrasing was lyrical and her technique used to illustrate the lively rhythm and form of the piece. The introduction of the Latin Hymn Dies Irae, often jarring in some performances, was handled with just the right amount of dread and foreboding. She handled the famous 18th Variation very well, full of fluidity and grace, not a trace of schmaltz. Some of her pedaling was not crisp and I wished for a more bolder presence when Rachmaninoff pitted the piano against his robust orchestra. The orchestra's balance or the acoustics of the hall may have played a part in this extremely minor quibble.
All I can say is WOW!


...and that was at 19. Definitely a talent to watch.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:58 am

Wow, you guys really have your ear to the ground.

Donald your observations concur with mine. She's not a powerful player, and Rachmaninoff and Beethoven don't always play to her advantage. She is intensely lyrical; with all that speed and kinetic intuition her playing can really sing.

I found this familiar Chopin waltz, and wonder what is thought of her style in this piece.

Yuja Wang, Chopin C Minor Waltz

Unfortunately the audio is slightly mistracked from the video.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Steinway » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:44 pm

Henry..

Is it remarkable how many terrific young pianists are trained at Curtis Institute?

I attend some of their student recitals and you can rest assured that there's more on the way. :lol:

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:01 pm

Cliftwood wrote:Henry..

Is it remarkable how many terrific young pianists are trained at Curtis Institute?

I attend some of their student recitals and you can rest assured that there's more on the way. :lol:
I see that clarinetist Andrew McGill, highly regarded here for his playing at Obama's Inauguration ceremony, is also from this school. And all students are there on a full tuition scholarship. Who pays for that? It's a great idea though.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Steinway » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:45 pm

Henry..

Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia is, and always has been a full scholarship institution. Entrance is by audition only. You can't pay to attend this conservatory.

You can imagine how excruciating it must be for a young pianist or violinist, knowing that only two or three openings are available.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Auntie Lynn » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:16 pm

She's going to be here next May playing the Prokofiev 2. She has been here in the past to ecstatic raves...since I am ticketed for this in May, more later...

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Lance » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:09 pm

THIS ... was positively spectacular. Technique is one thing, which she has in abundance, but her whole musical "idea" in this virtuosic showpiece, comes through loud and clear. I hope this particular item will be on her DGG recording. We have a new female Cziffra in our presence!
Imperfect Pitch wrote:> slofstra wrote: Watch out for this up-and-coming young pianist ... For the encore Wang performed a jazzed-up version of the Rondo a la Turk and I've never seen such a display of pyrotechnic virtuosity. I could believe neither my eyes or my ears.


Agreed! See below for a clip I posted earlier of Wang playing said Rondo Alla Turca. Ricordanza's concert review is also embedded within the thread:

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... hilit=yuja



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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by ChrisX » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:32 pm

That Bumblebee video was really impressive... I never thought it was physical possible to play so fast...

From DGG's own website I culled the program for her debut album:

http://www2.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/ ... =Yuja+Wang

CHOPIN: Klaviersonate
Piano Sonata No. 2 op. 35
LIGETI: Etüden · Etudes
No. 4 »Fanfares«
No. 10 »Der Zauberlehrling«
SCRIABIN: Klaviersonate
Piano Sonata No. 2 op. 19
»Sonate-Fantaisie«
LISZT: Klaviersonate h-moll
Piano Sonata in B minor

Recording Information

Recording Date:
November 2008
Live / Studio:
Studio
Recording Location:
Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg, Germany
Produced by:
Christian Leins, Executive Producer
Helmut Burk, Recording Producer

Format:
DDD Stereo 96 kHz 24 Bit

Apparently it won't be available in Europe before April 2009 but as mentioned the US will get first crack at it so I guess it will be availabe through the other Amazon outlets quite swiftly then.

Based on all reports it seems she might be a similar talented young woman as Hilary Hahn.
Chris
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:36 pm


> slofstra wrote: I found this familiar Chopin waltz, and wonder what is thought of her style in this piece. [Yuja Wang, Chopin C Minor Waltz]


A bit perfunctory. I like her better in the showpieces.

slofstra
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:53 pm

Imperfect Pitch wrote:
> slofstra wrote: I found this familiar Chopin waltz, and wonder what is thought of her style in this piece. [Yuja Wang, Chopin C Minor Waltz]


A bit perfunctory. I like her better in the showpieces.
Perfunctory? I wondered if she was taking liberties with the tempo. I don't know, I'm just asking; but it sounds delightful to me all the same. It's airy though, not dramatic, and that may also account for your response.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:07 pm


> slofstra wrote: Perfunctory? I wondered if she was taking liberties with the tempo. I don't know, I'm just asking; but it sounds delightful to me all the same.


It is delightful, nice, eminently competent, and all that ... but rather businesslike. (Hey, you can't be great at everything.) I still think she holds a lot of promise; I was just commenting on this one little clip.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:39 am


Here's one from when she was younger. For what it's worth, I don't think I've heard a better performance of Mozart's K. 545.




slofstra
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:04 am

Imperfect Pitch wrote:
> slofstra wrote: Perfunctory? I wondered if she was taking liberties with the tempo. I don't know, I'm just asking; but it sounds delightful to me all the same.


It is delightful, nice, eminently competent, and all that ... but rather businesslike. (Hey, you can't be great at everything.) I still think she holds a lot of promise; I was just commenting on this one little clip.
It's all relative, of course. I should listen to one of my recordings to compare. Do you know the opus number? My discography has a C sharp minor waltz (op 64 no.2), but no C minor waltz. Do you know if that's the one?

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:55 am

slofstra wrote:It's all relative, of course. I should listen to one of my recordings to compare.
Henry, I had no idea you were a pianist, let alone that you made records, what label are you on... :wink:
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Imperfect Pitch
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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Imperfect Pitch » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:44 pm


> slofstra wrote: Do you know the opus number? My discography has a C sharp minor waltz (op 64 no.2), but no C minor waltz.


That's the one (Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64 no. 2). I have Dinu Lipatti performing it on his live Besançon recital album from Sept 1950, which is a legendary recording in itself.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by slofstra » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:16 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
slofstra wrote:It's all relative, of course. I should listen to one of my recordings to compare.
Henry, I had no idea you were a pianist, let alone that you made records, what label are you on... :wink:
Actually I sing. Remember Napoleon XIV? That was actually me.

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Re: Pianist Yuja Wang

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm

I was disappointed in her Chopin Waltz but marveled at the Mozart/Turkish. If I were trying to dance to her rendition of the waltz, I would be out of step. She let her fingers run away with her in some passages ... not enough rubato. She knows the notes in this piece, but has not quite the vision or sensitivity to perform it quite yet. I agree with Henry, I think she could become the Lady Cziffra. Technique and memory are absolutely incredible. Wish I could go back to that age and know what I know now!
Imperfect Pitch wrote:
> slofstra wrote: I found this familiar Chopin waltz, and wonder what is thought of her style in this piece. [Yuja Wang, Chopin C Minor Waltz]


A bit perfunctory. I like her better in the showpieces.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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