The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Pianist Yuja Wang’s controversial and sexy micro-skirts are all part of her musical performance, says New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe in his rave review of Wang’s Carnegie Hall recital last week. | May 21, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear recently wondered about the relative silence and quiet of the young pianist Yuja Wang.

No more.

Wang has own more than her fair share of rave reviews and Grammy nominations for her intense and virtuosic playing. But she has also sparked controversies with her sexy and minimalist fashion that some people deem inappropriate concert attire that distracts from the music-making.

Witness Wang’s performances in the Hollywood Bowl of Rachmaninoff’s man-eating Piano Concerto No. 3. Here are photos and also a link to another post I did about Wang — you can find many more about Yuja Wang by using the search engine on The Ear blog site –that drew a lot of responses and comments from readers:’s-concert-skirt-too-short-what-is-inappropriate-concert-attire-for-a-performer-male-or-female/

yuja wang dress times 3

But last week New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe (below op) found Wang’s controversial attire to go beyond marketing and hype to be an integral part of the effect of her terrific recital — a true “performance,” Woolfe says, in part precisely because of her short skirt and spiky heels attire . It was in Carnegie Hall (below bottom in a photo by Ian Douglas for The New York Times) and featured  big and sexy post-Romantic works by Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Ravel, plus Chopin and other composers including Lowell Liebermann. (At bottom is a YouTube video of some shorter Scriabin works that Wang performed in Santa Fe.)

zachary woolfe ny times critic

Yuja Wang Ian Douglas NYT May 2013

Here is a link to Woolfe’s review:

The Ear also thinks that Yuja Wang’s taste in fashion not only helps her with PR and promotion or publicity, but also serves as a mirror of or natural accompaniment to her high-powered way of playing. She surely is a major pianist for a new century. (Below is another photo, by Ruby Washington of The New York Times, of Wang wearing a long black gown with a thigh-high slit for her Carnegie Hall debut, which also won a rave review from the Times’ senior music critic Anthony Tommasini.

Yuja Wang at Carnegie Ruby Washington NYTimes

What do you think of Woolfe’s point, his linking the fashion and the music? Are you convinced?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. I am amazed to have only recently discovered this force of nature, my current passion being opera. I have heard many of the “greats” over a long life, though “blessed” by little technical knowledge, so the music comes to/from the heart, and sometimes the gut! In my humble opinion Yuja is an international treasure. Her beauty and sense of fun (see “the clone”) never spoil her superb performance. I am happiest watching her face as she plays. Will

    Comment by William Duff — March 10, 2018 @ 5:19 am

  2. I’m almost rendered speechless whenever I see this beautiful being…then I listen to the music she produces from magical fingers…and I’m a bumbling mute.

    Comment by Quentin Taylor — February 1, 2017 @ 3:45 pm


      Comment by TERRY DEAL BAER — February 1, 2017 @ 3:53 pm

  3. Very beautiful

    Comment by TRETOUT mICHEL — December 26, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

  4. Wherever Ms Wang happens to be, she is the only game in town…

    Comment by terry baer — October 16, 2013 @ 6:59 am

  5. …if Ms. Wang wants to bring her eye-popping eye-candy to the concert stage…it still won’t distract from her pianism

    Comment by rick povero — August 16, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    • You got that right!

      Comment by terry baer — October 14, 2013 @ 3:45 am

  6. […] Classical music: Pianist Yuja Wang’s controversial and sexy micro-skirts are all part of her m… […]

    Pingback by Perhaps my focus was misplaced…. | Domestic Bliss: The Empty Nest — June 16, 2013 @ 7:58 am

    • …all part of her Mojo!

      Comment by terry baer — October 14, 2013 @ 3:46 am

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