Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is widely admired for her astonishing technical skills at the keyboard and a charismatic stage presence. The 26-year-old also draws attention for her fashion statements and sometimes daring style choices on the concert stage. Her newest album, released in October, is a live concert recorded last spring of the challenging Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto. Wang played them in Caracas with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. A favorite in Los Angeles who plays at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall in recitals and with the orchestra, Wang is on an 11-city tour that includes performances Dec. 19-22 with Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
They’re definitely pieces for young people, for young blood and for people who are strong and passionate. I’ve been doing them for a few years, but I’ve wanted to record them for a long time. The Prokofiev is such a powerful work; it’s very dark and emotionally despondent, very profound. Also, I’m a small, petite woman and I think the contrast of these monstrous pieces makes it even more impressive [visually].
The pieces kind of grow on you too. When you go deep enough and really analyze them and understand them, you almost go through a metamorphosis. Every time I come back to it, it’s like another layer is revealed.
What music, outside of classical, do you listen to — what’s on your iPod that would surprise us?
I have lots of Rihanna and Black Eyed Peas. Keith Jarrett and Ella Fitzgerald. I have Spotify and always just scroll through, looking for what’s new. It depends on what I’m playing, but when I play a concert — this raw, direct, in-your-face kind of energy — I play Rihanna before every show. I’m a huge fan, like her voice a lot. – LATimes
Wouldn’t it be genius if Birdman added Yuja Wang to #RichGang? Austin Mahone, Paris Hilton, and Soulja Boy aren’t complaining. He already has Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, and Drizzy. Hip hop socialites say Justin Bieber joined Rich Gang too! Wang is a musical goddess, and Bryan William has a ton of money for her compensation. Or nah?