Tuesday, April 24, 2012

RAVEL / Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang presents her favorite encores in FANTASIA, including music by Rachmaninov, Scarlatti, Gluck, Albeniz, Bizet, Schubert, Strauss, Chopin, Dukas, Scriabin, and Saint-Saens.  The tone, interpretation, and timing reflect an artist of immense talent and sensitivity.  Her choice of music here ranges from classic to romantic and (via transcription) to modern, revealing her own stylistic voice in telling a story or establishing a mood.  Whether it's a passionate revelation by Rachmaninov from a mountaintop, or a searingly tender reflection or contemplation by Scriabin, Wang never fails to stamp her own wax seal on these musical letters, having read them and been moved by their contents.  My brief interview with her is below. Her new album is RAVEL (Concerto in G and Concerto for Left Hand, my fav piece of music ever.) 

Yuja Wang is a classical pianist from China, now living in New York. A Gilmore Young artist award winner, she studied with Gary Graffman, and has since played with major orchestras around the world while being praised for the astonishing depth of her musicianship as well as her technical skill. With her charming demeanor and fun sense of style, Yuja turns heads everywhere she goes, and is fast becoming a superstar.

Jonathan Lowe) You began very young as a musician, so your success has been part of your memories since a child. Do you feel that you’ve mastered the keyboard now?

YUJA WANG) I don’t think I or anyone has mastered the keyboard. This is not a sporting event, it’s organic and there is always room for growth and improvement. That’s art!

JL) So true. And yet you play Chopin, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin with such deceptive ease and real feeling. Why do these composers speak to you personally, and what other composers interest you?

YW) I like many, many different composers. The group you mentioned I’ve played a lot, but there are so many others. What speaks to me about any composer and his compositions is the way they handle texture, voicings. . . how creative they are with harmonies and transitions. Each piece is a story. The better the story teller, the more interesting it is for any artist, I think.

JL) Have you ever performed the neglected Scriabin concerto? It seems so right for you, somehow.

YW) I like the concerto, but I haven’t yet programmed it. Some day, probably, but not yet!

JL) How hectic is your schedule, and do you enjoy traveling?

YW) Sometimes too hectic, and I don’t like traveling, but that’s part of doing the job. And my manager and I are cutting back on my traveling starting next season.

JL) Do you like to read? If so, any favorite authors?

YW) Murakami, Ayn Rand, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo – I love reading and there are a lot of authors I enjoy!

JL) You’ve accomplished much already, so what’s next for you? Any more classes with children?

YW) I don’t feel I’m experienced yet enough to work more with children. After all, I’ve only been playing really full seasons for three years, and I’m just twenty-four. That will come sometime more in the future. For now, I’m concentrating on continuing to build my career, and to take time to enjoy life. 

Classical Music 101 is a Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music. Written by Fred Plotkin, it is also read and sampled by the author. Highly recommended for those wanting to know how musicians think, and what they must learn...as well as enabling you to understand the histories of composers, how they influenced each other, and musical language or terminology. 

1 comment:

  1. She's so down to earth, humble, and fun. Unlike pop stars. I have a theory that the more intelligent someone is, the less likely to be obsessed with ego. You see vistas that others don't, and know your place in the universe...which in tiny, relatively speaking. We live for only a moment, why pollute the world with junk? Beauty is truth.