Her fingers dance over the piano keys with such breathtaking speed that some say “Yuja Wang must have more than two hands” (Die Zeit). After early lessons, the Chinese pianist was accepted at the conservatory in Beijing when she was only nine years old. She went to Canada at the age of 14, and a year later moved to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied for five years with piano legend Gray Graffman: “I learned to look closely and to search for the intentions of the composer in the musical text.” First awards at international competitions followed her European debut in 2003, and she made her US debut one year later. The decisive boost to her career came when Yuja Wang took over the solo part in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Boston in 2007, standing in for an indisposed Martha Argerich. Since then, her perfect playing and charismatic stage presence have enthralled audiences all over the world: “The arrival of Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang on the musical scene is an exhilarating and unnerving development. To listen to her in action is to re-examine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played.” (San Francisco Chronicle).
In 2013, she made her Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation debut with a recital and has been a regular guest ever since – including on no less than three occasions this season: as a chamber musician, as a guest of the orchestral concerts and with this piano recital. From her extensive repertoire which ranges from Classical to Contemporary, Yuja Wang has chosen, preludes and études by such diverse composers as Sergei Rachmaninov and György Ligeti for this programme. She also plays Alexander Scriabin’s tenth sonata, the last he wrote and which is characterised by its ecstatic mood, and Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8, composed during the Second World War, which Sviatoslav Richter described as “the richest of all of Prokofiev’s sonatas. It contains a whole human life with all its contradictions”.