Pianist Yuja Wang will make her Korean debut with Chopin's first piano concerto.
By Do Je-hae
A highlight of the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)'s upcoming Seoul tour is Chinese piano sensation Yuja Wang, who will make her first appearance on a local stage. The Deutsche Grammophon artist will perform the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Seoul Arts Center on June 29 under Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit.
The 25-year-old makes regular appearances in the most prestigious concert halls and music festivals. The San Francisco Chronicle has described her as "the most dazzlingly, uncannily gifted pianist in the concert world today."
She shares the same piano teacher as Lang Lang, another superstar pianist from China. They both studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia under U.S. pianist Gary Graffman.
Wang has an effortless technique and a huge repertoire that defies a relatively short career.
In a New York Times feature last year on Wang, Graffman underlined the intelligence and good taste of her interpretations as qualities that distinguished her. He also said he admired the "speed at which she learned repertory, her broad range of artistic interests, her sense of humor and her ability to produce a gorgeous sound from even second-rate instruments."
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Charles Dutoit, will accompany Yuja Wang during a concert at Seoul Arts Center on June 29. / Courtesy of Credia
Her Korean debut comes after a series of successful recitals in Europe and in the U.S. that showed off her artistic growth, featuring sonatas by Scriabin and Rachmaninov and Ravel's "La Valse."
A Beijing native, Wang moved to Canada at age 14 and studied at the Mount Royal College Conservatory in Calgary before entering the Curtis Institute. She has been able to build a top-level international career without any major competition success. Her breakthrough came in 2007 when she replaced Argentine piano virtuoso Martha Argerich with the Boston Symphony. It was Dutoit who conducted this concert and they have repeatedly performed together since.
She has been an exclusive artist for Deutsche Grammophon since 2009, releasing her first CD Sonatas & Etudes in 2009, followed by Transformation in 2010; Rachmaninov in 2011; and Fantasia in 2012. She also appears on a EuroArts DVD as soloist of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 under maestro Claudio Abbado at the Lucerne Festival.
Wang is the recipient of some of the most important prizes in the field: the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2010 and the Echo Klassik Young Artist of the Year award in 2011.
Founded in 1946, the RPO is among the finest orchestras and has rapidly grown in reputation under distinguished conductors such as Rudolf Kempe, Andre Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Daniele Gatti. For Korean audiences, the orchestra is closely associated with violin virtuoso Chung Kyung-wha. The RPO under Kempe and Chung recorded the Bruch Violin Concerto for Decca in the 1970s.
Dutoit, noted for his interpretations of French and Russian 20th century music, has served at the RPO since 2009.
Tickets for the RPO's Korea tour range from 50,000 to 250,000 won. For more information, visit www.credia.co.kr.
June 29 (Yuja Wang, piano)
Mendelssohn: Hebrides overture Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in e minor Debussy: La Mer Ravel: Daphnis & Chloe Suite No. 2
June 30 (Stefan Pi Jackiw, violin)
Weber: Euryanthe Overture Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in e minor Op. 64 Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique