Yuja Wang is widely recognised as one of the most important artists of her generation, both for her supreme musicianship and her ability to captivate audiences of all ages. Her prodigious virtuosity and technical control command critical acclaim, but for Wang, technique is never an end in itself. Instead, it serves the cause of emotional expression and musical interpretation.
Born into a musical family in Beijing in 1987, as an infant, she began picking out melodies on the piano at home and received her first piano lessons at the age of six. Rapid progress led to a place at the Beijing Conservatory and accelerated in 1999 when she moved to Canada to join the Morningside Music summer programme at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, eventually becoming the youngest ever student at Mount Royal Conservatory. In 2002, Wang won the Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition and enrolled to study with the distinguished concert pianist and teacher Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her career catapulted in 2007 following a performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, filling in last-minute for Martha Argerich as soloist, which has since led to performances with Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Antonio Pappano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Her artistic credo is ultimately both simple and extraordinarily complex: “I want to relate all life to music,” she told the Observer (London). Reviewers have hailed the emotional honesty and profound intelligence of her interpretations, as well as the charismatic power of her stage presence, for which she has been awarded both the Gramophone and the Echo Award for Young Artist of the Year and was named by Musical America as its Artist of the Year in 2017. She has also been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo in 2011 for her performance with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and for her Berlin Recital in 2019, which won a prestigious Gramophone Award.