In the world of piano, Yuja Wang is known to be one of the most technically talented and diverse pianist around. The Beijing-born pianist rose to fame quite remarkably over the past few years. Her rather flashy media presence has also managed to garner her a rather fair share of admirers as well as critics. Her success has set her up for an upcoming performance this approaching Thursday at Baldwin Auditorium through the Duke Performances Piano Recital Series.

“She’s uncommon in that she has reached such success so young. To take that athleticism and turn it into something beautiful usually takes a little more time,” stated Dr. David Heid, a Duke piano faculty member. In fact, it is Yuja’s youth that impresses others. She first started playing on the piano at a tender age of six. From then, she went on to perform with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the New York Philharmonic as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She managed to accomplish all of these even before she turned twenty one.

“It was just a hobby, and I ended up sticking with it,” she said humbly. Despite being known for all her technical abilities, Yuja has also earned a reputation for stirring up some controversy in the media due to the flashy dresses she puts on and her obvious appeal to a much younger generation. However, David does not seem to view this as a bad thing. “She’s challenging what we think classical music looks like. For classical music to thrive in our society, it might have to be packaged differently,” he explained.

This is exactly what Yuja is doing as she is packaging her performances in a certain way so that it is accessible to the general public. There are many other performers out there who do everything they possibly can to prevent their performances from being recorded and uploaded onto the Internet. For Yuja, she sees this as an opportunity to grow her online presence. “She’s available in a way that a younger generation is. I think she’s challenging what it looks like to go onstage and play. She clearly has an image she wants to present,” added David. For the rest of the story, you can read it over here.

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