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15 Questions to Yuja Wang

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi, I am in Philly now, just got back from Germany.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I have to play Schumann quintet in two days, then Mozart c minor concerto, Mendelssohn concerto in g minor, Prokofiev No.3, Grieg and Tchaikovsky no.1 in the fall.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?

There are lots of possibilities, something completely different from music, maybe athletics or acting?

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

There are so many musicians who influence me when I am not even conscious of it. One can learn so much by listening to recordings nowadays, and Cortot and Rachmaninoff moved me most.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
Being a soloist I have to travel around alone, besides being lonely I have to carry my gowns and try not to lose my passport…but the best part is the fun during rehearsal, during performance, these experiences are so valuable that it can't be replaced and it makes it impossible for me to complain about other trivial hardships.  :)


What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I don't see classical music is so much different from other genre of music, and of course, in China, classical music is flourishing. I think as long as music speaks to another human being's heart, it doesn't matter the quantity, it serve its purpose.


Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Stop reading the book, it has been read before... or stop going to the same restaurant, you've eaten there before...the dish might be the same, but the chef is different, even with a same chef, his dish is his personal creation at the moment, it can never reproduce the same again. Same with recordings, each artist is not just playing what is on the score, but brings his personal view and experience into it that is unique and inimitable.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

For a recital, I should say ‘bon voyage’ before I sit down; for concertos, ‘fasten the seatbelt,’ of course, all the orchestra members too hopefully.  :)


What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
Interpretation is what the piece meant for me. Something personal, something I can say through the music about my own life.

How do you balance the need to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?
It is all integrated in the process. It happens in practicing, in rehearsing, in concerts - if one is concentrated and innovative.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
Very false, music doesn't categorize in genres, it is either good or bad: good music always moves people, directly touching the heart. If one doesn't appreciate classical music, he/she might not appreciate music altogether. The more one listens to music, the more sensitive to what they hear, the more they'll appreciate.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
All piano concertos ever written, limit Mozart to only 5.


How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
Love/hate relationship, very promiscuous.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
No, just my vocal cord maybe.


Yuja Wang

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