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.