(from a press release) (Photo by David Bazemore)
Her career soars above that of any pianist before the public today. She represents a new breed--the complete, thoroughly modern package. Wearing stunning gowns chosen specifically to match the repertoire she is playing, she has cultivated a persona of visual beauty as well as musical brilliance. Her exceptional presence on stage and a natural affinity for music from Mozart to Gershwin have compelled critics to describe her performances as "charismatic," "breathtaking," and "flawless."
Born into a musical family in Beijing, Yuja Wang could read scores at age 5 and received her first piano lessons the next year. Within two years her teacher advised her parents that she belonged in a conservatory, and soon she entered Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. At age 12 she became the youngest student ever accepted at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, and three years later she began studies at Curtis Institute with the distinguished American pianist Gary Graffman, who would become her strongest mentor. She would also study with Leon Fleisher. She graduated in 2008.
Over the years, Wang has garnered numerous awards and accolades, from prizes at the Sendai International Music Competition and the Aspen Music Festival's concerto competition to being named a Gilmore Young Artist. Her international breakthrough came in March 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice as soloist in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 she made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in New York, and has appeared in that venue every season since.
For many years she delighted her sold-out audiences with dazzling virtuoso works, often of the Russian school, and always a handful of encores. But her May 2016 recitals in Los Angeles and at Carnegie, followed by an extensive European summer tour, represented a new stage of Yuja Wang's development. The printed program was all-German works: the first two of Brahms's Op. 10 Ballades, Schumann's Kreisleriana, and Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Piano Sonata, Op. 106.
Her exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon has produced seven discs in repertoire ranging from Brahms, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff to Ravel, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Ligeti. This season, the 29-year-old pianist's schedule includes an Asian tour with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, a Bartók concerto cycle with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performances of Ravel's Concerto in G with Gianandrea Noseda and the London Symphony in London and New York's Lincoln Center, as well as concerts and recitals with baritone Matthias Goerne and violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Wang will also undertake a major solo European recital tour in March and April, complete with concerts in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, London, and many other cities.