In October 1921, the young Russian composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev took to the stage with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the world premier of his Piano Concerto No. 3. Prokofiev composed it that summer on the French Atlantic coast. 92 years later Yuja Wang is sitting at the same place performing the same concerto with the prestigious orchestra under the baton of Sakari Oramo. "I can definitely feel the ghost of him. I mean I already feel he is very close to me but this is very close. He was 27, which is only a year older than me, but he has glasses and is like this very nerdy, tall Russian guy," said Wang. "I went to the library here and they have all the archives of his photos and everything. And they have a long list of all the pianists who played that concerto. I'm the last one," she added.
Yuja Wang, 26, is celebrated worldwide for her delicate and virtuoso playing. Her concerts take her around the globe. Over the past few years this musical journey has touched the Chinese born pianist in more ways than one. "What changed is within myself. I'm more used to the road. I think I tackle it better. I know what to do more with different space and different time. And just constantly reading and nourish myself with knowledge or wisdom," Wang said. "I always get really nervous right before I go on stage because there is just so much variety. I have to be so in the moment."
Prokofiev is one of Yuja Wang's favourite composers. According to her his music is pure Rock'n'Roll: "It's so beautiful and it's so kinetic, so young and edgy and sarcastic, salty, spicy. It's perfect for spiky hair and high heels. I think every moment is really intense. Now that I played it so many times I'm really clear about what kind of character I want to achieve. And it literally changes every bar. I mean in the end it's like a kaleidoscope."
Euronews would like to give a special thanks to the "Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra" for making their archive pictures available to us.
In this edition you hear extracts of Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater – The complete Prokofiev symphonies. Moscow Easter Festival
Verbier Festival 2010