Through The Eyes Of Yuja

A road movie by Anaïs & Olivier Spiro

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Program notes

With more than 120 performances a year, Yuja Wang lives a nomadic lifestyle. Travelling the world, two extra small trolley suitcases carry the essentials for a two week trip: dresses, shoes, iPad, iPod, and Smartphone. The 27-year-old Yuja leads a new generation of pianists who can comfortably play anything thanks to phenomenal technique and healthy self-confidence. Even so, she stands squarely in the tradition of great piano virtuosi, offering much more than just technical wizardry alone...

Pianists have to be alone all the time, and it's hard, it's lonely. Being a musician is almost like a very isolated life, and the only time you actually get to communicate is on stage with music. It's not a bad thing. I think being solitary, it really allows us to think about life and to think about why people write this music. [...] It makes you start to wonder about things that are beneath the surface. – Yuja Wang

In this film, we journey alongside the extraordinary pianist. Yuja's wanderings are a travelogue of exciting venues, glitzy cities, and encounters with extraordinary artists—Gustavo Dudamel, Gautier Capuçon, and Leonidas Kavakos and innumerable other personalities—but they are accompanied by all the implicit downsides: fatigue, jet lag, pressure, doubts, hostilities, disorientation, and loneliness. Through the Eyes of Yuja reveals us this artist in a very personal way, using a portable camera and her smartphone to record her digital diary. With a bittersweet reference to the transience of life, the film explores how the invisible complements the visible.

Filmmakers Anaïs & Olivier Spiro have a very close relationship with Yuja Wang: they started to work with her in 2010 at Verbier Festival, and since then have completed four films of her landmark concerts. Directing documentaries, recording opera, theater, and dance, making live broadcasts, and film adaptations of operas for the past 15 years, the Spiros work as cinematographers and editors as well as in collaboration with other directors.

Yuja Wang appears courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon.

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