Classical KUSC



Yuja Wang Comes Back to the Bowl

Posted By: Jamie Paisley · 8/6/2012 4:24:00 PM

Yuja Wang made headlines last year during her stunning performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl. This week, she’s back to perform Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto with the LA Phil & Gustavo Dudamel. Fortunately, she was able to make time to answer 5 questions for us here at KUSC:

1) You recently performed the massive Tchaikovsky Piano Trio at the Verbier Festival and now are coming to Los Angeles and the Hollywood Bowl to perform the Tchaikovsky 1st Piano Concerto. Other than the Nicolai Rubinstein connection, what parallels, if any, do you see in those two works by the great Russian?

I see the same parallels that I see with any great works. Not so much about the same composer, but about the significance of the works. As a performer, it’s always a journey exploring and performing these works, and the “greater” the work, the more interesting it becomes.

2) Your most recent DG album, Fantasia, is all about encores. How do you choose your encore? Meaning, in the moment while bowing or in conjunction with the conductor? Essentially: is there a method to your encore-choosing madness?

In my mind, encores should, first and foremost, be spontaneous. Of course, if it’s a concerto performance the conductor may have suggestions, but I often don’t plan what the encore will be until the immediate moment. What I never do, however, is assume that encores will be given. That’s up to the audience and the orchestra or series on which I’m playing. If I do give encores, it’s more a question of what would I like to leave the audience with, and how does that work with what I just played.

3) The notes on Fantasia, say you’re trying to write Haikus with those miniatures. Could you write a Hollywood Bowl haiku?

I’m REALLY not a poet in that sense, and I don’t really know Haiku structure, but I’ll try this:

Summer wind
The Dude leaps in
Exhale….(and play)

4) What five tracks on your iPod are getting the most play right now?

It changes every single day. And it’s always a mix of lots of different music. Love listening to Bach and Ligeti these days, and having fun with Dirty Projectors.

5) You made a very funny YouTube appearance with Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society cellist Nick Canellakis...


First, congrats on holding your own against those interviewers. Second, you’ve *clearly* received the most hits out of all his interview series. How did that “interview” come about? Did you know ahead of time the kind of humor they were going for?

Nick made it easy – he is seriously a comedic genius. But… NOTHING was scripted. Everything said was spontaneous with no lines fed to me at all. That’s a huge part of what makes it fun.

Tickets for this Thursday’s Hollywood Bowl concert featuring Yuja Wang are available by clicking here. More information about Yuja Wang at and via her twitter account @YujaWang Special Thanks to Earl Blackburn at Opus 3 Artists for getting us in touch with Yuja Wang.

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