© Esther Haase/DG
Breaking The Mould
Updating her Twitter feed regularly with quotes scattered from Goethe, Wittgenstein, Banksy and her thoughts on the best brownie to be had in Times Square, Yuja Wang is an artist as thoughtful as she is thought-provoking.
Yuja has something you can't really learn... and that's charisma.
Gary Graffman, Yuja Wang's Piano Teacher
Yuja started playing the piano at the age of six and at fourteen, with visa complications meaning her mother was unable to join her, she left Beijing alone and moved to the US to continue her studies. Yuja has never lost this fiery sense of independence. Ever since her career first took off following a series of step-ins for high-profile cancellations, Yuja has proven that she is far more than just the latest, in her own words, Chinese ‘popstar’ of the piano. ‘Pigeon-holing is very convenient for shopping but I think for artists it’s unnecessary’, she said in a recent interview.
Yuja has also received a lot of attention for what critics have dubbed the ‘Hollywood Bowl dress’ incident, but for Yuja, having a passionate flair for fashion is just about being herself – a 26-year-old who spends her free time going out with friends, watching movies, playing Sudoku on her iPad, and who also happens to be an exceptional pianist. ‘If they accept me, they do. If they don’t, they don’t… When I’m 40, I’m not going to wear a short dress, so I might as well do it now!’.
On what she’s looking forward to about coming to London for her UBS Soundscapes: LSO Artist Portrait, she says ‘It’s going to be totally awesome! Great music, getting to work with a great orchestra and musicians – it will give me a chance to show the variety of my playing and personality’. Spontaneous, graceful, insightful and above all, fearless, it is perhaps her teacher Gary Graffman who best expresses what makes Yuja, Yuja: ‘She has something you can’t really learn’, he says,‘and that’s charisma’.
UBS Soundscapes: Yuja Wang Artist Portrait
> Sun 9 Feb 2014
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No 3
RACHMANINOV Symphony No 2
Jaap van Zweden conductor
> Thu 13 Feb 2014
DEBUSSY La mer
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No 2
RAVEL Daphnis and Chloé – Suites I & II
James Gaffigan conductor
> Sun 16 Feb 2014
Programme to be announced
> Thu 20 Feb 2014
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No 3
Daniel Harding conductor