The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Phenom pianist and fashion plate Yuja Wang opens up to The New York Times about her artistic goals and her personal lifestyle.

April 14, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

I will admit it: I am a big fan of Yuja Wang (below).

I find her playing assured and her stupendously fluid technique superb (see the bottom). I like her buoyant and infectious self-confidence. And I find her visual presence quite lovely and spicy, even edgy with the exactly the right kind of youthful energy that classical music needs right now to revitalize itself to a largely visual generation.

So I was particularly pleased to read a long profile written by Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times.

In it, Wang explains a lot about her background and development as a pianist and as a public figure. It is hard to believe, for example, that a young performing artist with such charisma often finds herself lonely. But she admits that with the same openness that shows in her playing and in her stage presence.

Most of all, I enjoyed how unapologetic Wang is about her career and her treatment in the press, which has not always been kind or generous, especially about her sexy, provocative or even controversial manner of dressing for a concert, whether it is an orange micro-skirt or black gown with a thigh-high slit:

I also liked her relaxed attitude towards her own career – that is, she will enjoy it while she can and not worry about the future!

So I offer this to lots of others fans in the hope that also like it, and to those who aren’t fans in the hope that they might be persuaded.

Time and history, of course, will have the final say. But it seems to The Ear that we are in the presence of a major pianistic talent when we listen to Wang. Sure, she needs time to mature as a musician – and she admits as much is discussing the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. But she has already come a long way and she probably has a lot of time for the maturing part.

But read this profile, listen to her recordings and decide for yourselves.

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