yuja wang tackles 10 questions

back-to-back rockstars?  yep, the schnitz roadies just now put away the last of the mallets and gongs, and are now wheeling in the concert grand for yuja wang, a 23-year-51-week old crazy hot piano player from china who is already in high demand all over the globe.

you’ll be playing rachmaninoff’s piano concerto #3 with the symphony this weekend.  how would you describe it to someone who doesn’t listen to much classical music?

They’ll start listening much more 🙂 Funny enough its not as popular as the second one where everybody can sing the luscious melodies because hollywood used it and abused it much.  But this one, the third, it was the texture that grabbed me in the first time, the inner unsettled chromatics, the sonic waves.  And the structure, that’s the hardest; it’s like trying to have a complete vision of the Great Wall of China.

why is the piano so awesome?

We can make it sound like any instrument in the orchestra plus a singer, if our imagination allows.  And it is the most natural instrument to play physically.

what’s so great about experiencing classical music live?

Everything seems more enriched when one experiences it live.  It’s a collective experience of the moment; the individual senses oneself as a part of the whole, temporal and spatial.

that’s quite an answer – thanks!  hey, what was it like playing with the youtube symphony orchestra [check out the trailer, dear reader -cb]?


we’ll leave it at that.  if i were to buy you a drink, what would you order?

U mean drinks? 😉 White Russian definitely, Hpnotiq or Caipirinha is nice too.

can i start calling u yuja lebowski?  hang on – wait – that’s not my real question… any particular preparations or rituals before a concert?

Nope, some nicotine maybe.

in october, you played in cincinnati with maestro carlos when he was guest conducting – what do you remember about working with him?

He is real fun to work with.

what three pianists would you like to have dinner with and where the heck would you go?

Horowitz at the Russian Tearoom in NYC.  Radu Lupu with some cigars and a nice Bordeaux.  Glenn Gould probably at his place.

yeah, it’s probably best to keep those guys separated.  anything excite you in the world of pop music these days?

I love Radiohead, Mutemath, Fedde le Grand (a DJ)… lots of cool stuff out there.

oh dear, you’re making the beaver feel old… i had to look up those last two.  what expectations do you have about visiting portlandia?

I hear a lot of beautiful things about the city and I’m very looking forward to being there myself for the first time.  It might still be cold for walking through rose gardens, but the microbreweries and microdistilleries sound enticing… a cup of Stumptown coffee, then I’ll be set for the Rach 3.

hey, i thought you said you didn’t have any pre-concert rituals 😉 can’t wait to see you pull this off monday night.  thanks for the interview, and happy chinese new year!


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