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Yuja Wang, Piano

Thursday, May 17, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yuja Wang by Norbert Kniat / DG
Gifted with mind-boggling technical skill, penetrating interpretive insight, and enough charisma to light a city, Yuja Wang is a megastar pianist. As the Los Angeles Times wrote, “She eats the world’s greatest keyboard challenges for breakfast with one hand tied behind her back.”
Please note that if you purchased stage seating, please arrive one hour before concert time. There will be no late seating.


Yuja Wang, Piano


RACHMANINOFF Prelude in D Major, Op. 23, No. 4

RACHMANINOFF Étude-tableau in B Minor, Op. 39, No. 4

RACHMANINOFF Prelude in E Minor, Op. 32, No. 4

RACHMANINOFF Prelude in B Minor, Op. 32, No. 10

RACHMANINOFF Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5

RACHMANINOFF Étude-tableau in E-flat Minor, Op. 39, No. 5

SCRIABIN Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 70

LIGETI Etude No. 3, "Touches bloquées"

LIGETI Etude No. 9, "Vertige"

LIGETI Etude No. 1, "Désordre"

PROKOFIEV Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat Major, Op. 84


MENDELSSOHN Song Without Words in F-sharp Minor, Op. 67, No. 2

HOROWITZ Variations on a Theme from Bizet's Carmen

YOUMANS "Tea for Two" from No, No, Nanette (arr. Art Tatum)

PROKOFIEV Precipitato from Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

MOZART Rondo ("Alla Turca") from Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331 (arr. Arcadi Volodos, Fazil Say and Yuja Wang)

GLUCK Mélodie from Orfeo ed Euridice (arr. Giovanni Sgambati)

SCHUBERT "Gretchen am Spinnrade," D. 118 (arr. Franz Liszt)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Yuja Wang: 2018–2019 Perspectives Artist

At a Glance

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF  Selected Preludes and Études-tableaux

Rachmaninoff modeled his solo piano preludes on Chopin’s contribution to the genre. Dating from the first decade of the 20th century, the preludes of Rachmaninoff’s Op. 23 and Op. 32 display his trademark blend of Russian-flavored lyricism and dazzling virtuosity. The later Op. 39 Études-tableaux (Pictorial Etudes) are conceived on a larger and more complex scale.


ALEXANDER SCRIABIN  Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 70

Scriabin began his career as a Romantic composer-pianist in the Lisztian mold and ended it as a proto-Modernist. The last of his 10 piano sonatas is suffused with an aura of otherworldliness and caprice, in keeping with the improvisational quality that a contemporary critic detected in his playing: “It seemed as if he was creating a piece that you know well from a printed score right there on the stage in front of the piano.”



Insatiably curious and constitutionally incapable of falling into a rut, Hungarian composer György Ligeti continually reinvented his musical language over the course of his life. He once said that “all cultures, indeed the whole wide world is the material of art!” Ligeti’s adventurous exploration of rhythms, harmonies, and textures is evident in the three short, technically demanding etudes we hear on this evening’s program.


SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat Major, Op. 84

Prokofiev composed his three so-called “war sonatas,” nos. 6–8, more or less simultaneously between 1939 and 1944. All three works were marked by his experience of the Soviet Union’s “Great Patriotic War,” but the Sonata in B-flat Major is far from militaristic in spirit. The dreamily romantic character of the first two movements may reflect the composer’s love for Mira Mendelson, the ambitious young writer who would become his second wife in 1948.


Yuja Wang

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, she has registered fresh achievements during the 2017–2018 season, which has included recitals, concert series, and extensive ...

Critical superlatives and audience ovations have followed Yuja Wang’s dazzling career. Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, she has registered fresh achievements during the 2017–2018 season, which has included recitals, concert series, and extensive tours with some of the world’s most venerated ensembles and conductors.

Ms. Wang began the current season with a summer 2017 tour with the London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas, performing a program that featured Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto. This was followed by a performance of the composer’s First Piano Concerto at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lionel Bringuier. Additional engagements include concerts with the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, a series of performances at the Verbier Festival, and a three-city German tour with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Wang also embarks on play-conduct tours with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, joins the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural tour with Jaap van Zweden, and performs on the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra’s final tour with Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other notable appearances include concerts in Hong Kong, Prague, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Miami, and Washington, DC.

This past winter, Ms. Wang reunited with violinist and frequent collaborator Leonidas Kavakos for a European chamber tour. This spring, Ms. Wang embarks on a far-reaching recital tour at premier venues in US and European cities that include New York, San Francisco, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, among others.

Ms. Wang was born into a musical family in Beijing, China. After childhood piano studies, she received advanced training in Canada and at the Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman. Ms. Wang’s international breakthrough came in 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon two years later, and has since established her place among the world’s leading artists with a succession of critically acclaimed performances and recordings. Ms. Wang was named Musical America’s 2017 Artist of the Year.

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