Twenty-three year old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Regularly lauded for her controlled, prodigious technique, Yuja’s command of the piano has been described as “astounding” and “superhuman,” and she has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire, the depth of her musical insight, as well as her fresh interpretations and graceful, charismatic stage presence. Following her San Francisco recital debut The San Francisco Chronicle wrote “The arrival of Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang on the musical scene is an exhilarating and unnerving development. To listen to her in action is to re-examine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played,” and The Washington Post called Yuja’s Kennedy Center recital debut “jaw-dropping.”
Yuja is an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon. Her debut recording, Sonatas & Etudes, released in the spring of 2009, “suggests a combination of blazing technique and a rare instinct for poetry” wrote Gramophone magazine, which named Yuja the Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2009 Young Artist of the Year. Her second recording, Transformation, was released in spring of 2010 to great critical acclaim, and was selected by Gramophone Magazine as the July 2010 Record of the Month.
In the few short years since her 2005 debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra led by Pinchas Zukerman, for which the Canadian press reported “a star is born,” Yuja has already performed with many of the world’s prestigious orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, New World Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, in the U.S., and abroad with the Tonhalle Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Gulbenkian Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Nagoya Philharmonic, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and Orchestra Mozart, among others. In 2006 Yuja made her New York Philharmonic debut at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival and performed with the orchestra the following season under Lorin Maazel during the Philharmonic’s Japan/Korea visit. In 2008 Yuja toured the United States with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Sir Neville Marriner and in 2009 she performed as a soloist with the You Tube Symphony Orchestra led by Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. She also toured the U.S. tour with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra led by Long Yu in honor of the orchestra’s 130th anniversary, and performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado in Beijing, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Spain and in London, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Yuja has given recitals in major cities throughout North America and abroad, is a dedicated performer of chamber music, and makes regular appearances at festivals including the Aspen Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Gilmore Festival and the Verbier Festival. She has worked with many of the world’s esteemed conductors including Claudio Abbado, Charles Dutoit, Antonio Pappano, Robert Spano, Yuri Temirkanov, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Osmo Vänskä and Pinchas Zukerman.
As her career continues to blossom, each season Yuja makes a number of important debuts, both with major orchestras and in recital. This season she makes her debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Danielle Gatti, Orchestre de Paris conducted by Juraj Valcuha, RAI Torino led by Mikko Franck, and Orquesta Nacional España and Berlin Staatskapelle, each conducted by Pietari Inkinen. Yuja also makes recital debuts in Madrid and Tokyo. Additional highlights of Yuja’s 2010-11 season include an appearance at the Shanghai Expo with Filarmonica della Scala led by Semyon Bychkov and a tour of Spain with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra conducted by Roger Norrington. She also performs with the Cincinnati Symphony, Oregon Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Pacific Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Winnipeg Symphony.
Born in Beijing in 1987, Yuja began studying piano at age six, with her earliest public performances taking place in China, Australia and Germany, and went on to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing under Ling Yuan and Zhou Guangren. Following three years, from 1999 to 2001, at the Morningside Music summer program at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, an artistic and cultural exchange program between Canada and China, Yuja moved to Canada and began studying with Hung Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the Mount Royal College Conservatory. In 2002, when Yuja was 15, she won Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition and moved to the U.S. to study with Gary Graffman at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she graduated in 2008. In 2006 Yuja received the Gilmore Young Artist Award. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.