The many sides of pianist Yuja Wang

Posted on: September 6, 2016

“Never has the relationship between what we see at a concert and what we hear come under such perplexing scrutiny” as it does with Yuja Wang, who favors dramatic, fashion-forward outfits in concert, writes Janet Malcolm in a lengthy profile of the pianist in the September 5 issue of The New Yorker. “Is the seeing part a distraction (Glenn Gould thought it was) or is it—can it be—a heightening of the musical experience?” The article discusses Wang’s repertoire, start as a child prodigy in China, studies at the Curtis Institute, and new approaches to works such as Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata: “At Carnegie Hall, Yuja did not play the piece quite at Beethoven’s tempi—these days, few pianists do apart from [András] Schiff—but I found myself responding to it as I had not responded to recordings by the great Maurizio Pollini and Mitsuko Uchida. I had not been able to get past the music’s unprettiness. But now I was electrified. The forty- or fifty-minute-long piece … seemed almost too short.… Her effortless approach brought out the brilliant, clear structure of Hammerklavier and highlighted it from another angle. Like a great monument that’s not made of stone but of light-reflecting glass.”

Posted September 6, 2016