Yuja Wang is one of those exceedingly rare pianists to have become
a major international presence by her 21st birthday. Having
performed by then with such orchestras as the New York, St.
Petersburg, and China philharmonics, and the Chicago, San
Francisco, and Houston symphony orchestras, she transitioned almost
overnight from an unknown but hugely talented teenager to arguably
the most famous Chinese-born female pianist. And with a multi-disc
recording contract with DG and a schedule of more than 100 concerts
yearly, she is one of the busiest on the globe, as well. While she
has had success in competitions, Wang owes her sudden fame mostly
to her role as a fill-in for superstar pianists who cancel on short
notice. Most famously, Wang substituted for Martha Argerich in the
Tchaikovsky First with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March 2007.
The reviewers were ecstatic in their praise for her performance.
The following year she substituted for Murray Perahia on a concert
tour that garnered lavish critical acclaim from Boston to San
Francisco. Wang's repertory is broad and quite eclectic, taking in
works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Scriabin,
Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and others. Yuja Wang was born in Beijing,
China, on February 10, 1987. She began piano lessons at six and had
later studies at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. She was a
prizewinner in the Sendai International Music Competition in 2001.
That same year she moved to Calgary, Canada, for studies at the
Mount Royal College Conservatory. Wang won the 2002 Aspen Music
Festival Concerto Competition, after which she relocated to the
U.S. for studies at the Curtis Institute under Gary Graffman. Her
European debut was in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2003, when she
performed the Beethoven Fourth with the Tonhalle Orchestra under
David Zinman. In February 2005, Wang launched her career as a
"fill-in" when she substituted for Radu Lupu in Ottawa, Canada, for
another performance of the Beethoven Fourth. In 2006 Wang was the
recipient of the Gilmore Young Artist Award. Wang graduated from
Curtis Institute in 2008, and went on that summer to give acclaimed
performances of the Liszt B minor Sonata, Brahms Horn Trio, and
Prokofiev First Piano Concerto at the Saratoga Performing Arts
Center. The following year she was invited by Claudio Abbado to
play the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto at the Lucerne Festival.
That acclaimed performance was issued on a EuroArts DVD in 2010.