Pianist Yuja Wang To Perform Brahms’ First Piano Concerto

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NEWARK—Pianist Yefim Bronfman has withdrawn from his engagements with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for its program of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto this weekend for medical reasons.

Bronfman said: “I was very eager to return to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra stage for my repeat engagement with the Orchestra. I regret that I will not be able to perform in New Jersey this weekend, but I look forward to appearing with the NJSO again in the future.”

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The NJSO announced that pianist Yuja Wang will perform the Brahms concerto with the Orchestra. Wang, a 23-year-old recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, is a superstar on the rise.

Photo of Yuja Wang courtesy of NJSO

Writes The San Francisco Chronicle: “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 reexamine whatever assumptions you may have had about how well the piano can actually be played.”

NJSO Music Director Jacques Lacombe said: “I am sorry to hear that Yefim Bronfman will not be able to appear with the NJSO this weekend; he is a wonderful person and a talented pianist, and on behalf of our Orchestra, I wish him a speedy recovery.

“To perform Brahms’ magnificent First Piano Concerto, I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring Yuja Wang to New Jersey audiences. I have admired her gifts at the piano, and I am excited that our patrons will be able to experience her interpretation of this great masterwork.”

Performances take place on Friday, November 5 (8 p.m.), at the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton and on Saturday, November 6 (8 p.m.), and Sunday, November 7 (3 p.m.), at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. Classical Conversations, which are free to ticketholders, begin one hour before each performance.

Tickets range in price from $20 to $82 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1-800-255-3476.

Wang is widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Regularly lauded for her controlled, prodigious technique, Wang’s command of the piano has been described as “astounding” and “superhuman,” and she has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire and the depth of her musical insight, as well as her fresh interpretations and graceful, charismatic stage presence.

Wang is an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon. Her debut recording, “Sonatas & Etudes,” released in the spring of 2009, “suggests a combination of blazing technique and a rare instinct for poetry” wrote Gramophone magazine, which named Wang the Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2009 Young Artist of the Year. Her second recording, “Transformation,” was released in spring of 2010 to great critical acclaim, and it was selected by Gramophone as the July 2010 Record of the Month.

In the few short years since her 2005 debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra led by Pinchas Zukerman, for which the Canadian press reported “a star is born,” Wang has already performed with many of the world’s prestigious orchestras, including the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, National, New World and San Francisco Symphonies; Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Orchestras, along with the Tonhalle and Gulbenkian Orchestras; China, London and Nagoya Philharmonics; Filarmonica della Scala; NHK Symphony in Tokyo and Orchestra Mozart, among others.

In 2006, Wang made her New York Philharmonic debut at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and performed with the orchestra the following season under Lorin Maazel during the Philharmonic’s Japan/Korea visit. In 2008, she toured the United States with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Sir Neville Marriner, and in 2009, she performed as a soloist with the You Tube Symphony Orchestra led by Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. She also toured the U.S. with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra led by Long Yu in honor of the orchestra’s 130th anniversary, and she performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado in Beijing and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Spain and in London, as well as the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Wang has given recitals in major cities throughout North America and abroad, is a dedicated performer of chamber music and makes regular appearances at festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Gilmore Festival and Verbier Festival. She has worked with many of the world’s esteemed conductors including Charles Dutoit, Antonio Pappano, Robert Spano, Yuri Temirkanov and Osmo Vänskä.

As her career continues to blossom, each season Wang makes a number of important debuts, both with major orchestras and in recital. This season, she makes her debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Danielle Gatti, Orchestre de Paris conducted by Juraj Valcuha, RAI Torino led by Mikko Franck and Orquesta Nacional España and Berlin Staatskapelle, each conducted by Pietari Inkinen. She also makes recital debuts in Madrid and Tokyo. Additional highlights of Wang’s 2010–11 season include an appearance at the Shanghai Expo with Filarmonica della Scala led by Semyon Bychkov and a tour of Spain with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra conducted by Roger Norrington. She performs with the Cincinnati, Oregon, Pacific, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Toronto and Winnipeg Symphonies, as well as the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

Born in Beijing in 1987, Wang began studying piano at age 6, with her earliest public performances taking place in China, Australia and Germany. She went on to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing under Ling Yuan and Zhou Guangren. Following three years at the Morningside Music summer program at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, an artistic and cultural exchange program between Canada and China, Wang moved to Canada and began studying with Hung Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the Mount Royal College Conservatory. In 2002, at age 15, she won Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition and moved to the United States to study with Gary Graffman at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she graduated in 2008. In 2006, she received the Gilmore Young Artist Award. This year, she garnered the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.


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