February 10, 1987 - Beijing (China)
© Julia Wesely
Her singular blend of technical prowess, keen musical insight, and emotional depth have established Yuja Wang as one of the world’s finest performers. The power of her interpretations emerges from a distinct combination of her exceptional presence on stage and a natural affinity and inquisitive approach to the repertoire, which ranges from Mozart to Gershwin and beyond. "Charismatic", "breathtaking", "flawless" and "heartfelt" are just a selection of the superlatives used frequently by critics worldwide.
Yuja's 2017-18 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, Ms. 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.
As part of its commitment to the arts, Rolex selected Yuja Wang as one of its cultural ambassadors in 2009, a distinction she holds to this day. She has been 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." This combination of critical acclaim, audience ovations, return engagements at leading international venues, and an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon confirm Yuja Wang’s status as one of this century’s most compelling and engaging artists.
Yuja’s way of making music connects with a strikingly broad demographic. It appeals to everyone, from classical music newcomers to devoted pianophiles, and has attracted an exceptionally youthful following. Her love for fashion, 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 the status quo and to welcome fresh converts to the concert hall.
Yuja Wang was born in Beijing and encouraged to make music at a young age by her dancer mother and percussionist father, which served as the catalyst for the never-ending thirst for knowledge that has sustained her continued musical development. She 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 Curtis in 2008, she had already gained 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 decade of her career, she has worked with such pre-eminent Maestros as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, 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 Piano Concerto and Paganini’s 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 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 concerti 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 abilities, an inexhaustible creative imagination, and an unmatched artistry.