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Yuja Wang defaces dressing-room sign

February 16, 2014 by Norman Lebrecht

28 comments.


Fun Sunday. The lively Chinese pianist has just tweeted a pic of this officious-looking notice at London’s Barbican Centre:

yuja wang sign


Comments (28)

  1. In what way is this cute? Would we prefer that people get injured?

    1. Michael Schaffer says:

      Oh yes, Jeffrey, changing “bulbs” to “boobs” will definitely lead to lots of people going around backstage and touching the hot bulbs. Now they will need at least 20 additional stagehands at double overtime to make sure that won’t happen, right?

    2. Anon says:

      Eh? Don’t be daft. Signs like this don’t really help anyway, there are always so many of them that no-one bothers to read them. If you asked any member of the LSO “is there a notice about hot bulbs backstage?” they would almost certainly look at you blankly. The sign would remain unnoticed were it not for a cheekily amusing alteration, which ironically is more likely to have people notice the notice and not touch those oh-so-dangerous hot bulbs.

    3. Martin says:

      There are so many of these signs in the UK that no-one actually is able to read or remember all of them.

      A few months at my workplace there was a huge “do not enter” sign on a door. I honestly didn’t notice it because there are that many signs plastered all over our “healthy and safe” factory and offices.

  2. Ken says:

    Where does it say that she defaced it? She just snapped a picture.

    1. Reggie Benstein says:

      The headline says it ….

      1. Ken says:

        No, Norman said it, he wrote the headline duh.

      2. Ken says:

        Also, I know Yuja fairly well and I’m sure she saw this already existing in her dressing room, thought it was funny/silly, and tweeted the pic. She wouldn’t actually ‘deface’ the sign. It’s a misleading and ignorant headline Norman.

  3. Will says:

    Maybe it was she who defaced it? Obviously ‘someone’ changed the word ‘bulbs’ to ‘boobs’…!

  4. Dave K says:

    The one below it in blue is a bit of a give-away and should have been amended accordingly.

    Health & safety will want confusion to be avoided, after all.

    Joking aside, we get way too much of this nannying stuff visually and aurally in the UK.

  5. Will Duffay says:

    Before people come over all ‘elf n safety’ about this, presumably the notice is to avoid the Barbican being liable should anybody be foolish enough to touch a hot bulb and get burned.

    1. Martin says:

      Thats the point. The laws are not to create safety, they are to avoid lawsuits. And by that noone actually reads the important signs, especially not in places that are already plastered by them…. How notice a new sign, when already dozens are on the wall?

    2. Cambridge says:

      Agreed. We live in a litigious culture where people will not accept responsibility for their own actions unless warned! Hence McDonald’s have to put a notice on coffee cups saying that the drink is hot! At one time this was obvious to every sensible person.

      1. Martin says:

        Actually my mom has bought glasses, for hot tea and ice cold drinks, which should have a “caution ver hot or cold drink inside”. They have a double “wall”, which won’t make you notice how freaking hot the drink actually is…. Hope I’ll remember to buy some “UK style” caution stickers when I go back home in March :-)

  6. sdReader says:

    Deutsche Grammophon bimbo!

    1. Anon says:

      Slightly rude and unnecessary, sdReader. Yuja is a lovely person and a remarkable musician.

      1. Correction: Very rude and completely unnecessary.

        I find that Yuja Wang is one of the more serious young artists around today, although I do not like everything about her interpretations. But she deserves to be taken seriously.

        She is still very young, and she is wise enough to do what she does best today and not try to compete in the same repertoire which made pianists like Arrau, Brendel and Serkin famous. Some of her chamber music work is absolutely fabulous; her art is not just about fast octaves and hair-raising transcriptions. And she is a supreme colorist as well.

    2. anon2 says:

      Remarkable in having made this much of a career based on fast playing and superficial rhythmic accents. That’s about all there is to the “musicianship.” But for those not trained in classical piano, it’s difficult to tell.

      1. I’ll bet you never heard a single note of any of her chamber music performances? Her Scarlatti?

        I’ve never heard the ensemble playing as tight as it was in Prokofiev’s 3rd concerto when she played together with Abbado in the Lucerne Festival a few years ago. If she was good enough for Abbado, who was quite a fine pianist in his youth (he studied with Friedrich Gulda at the same time that Martha Argerich was his student), then I would be careful about making such blanket statements.

        1. Martin says:

          Her Prokofiev concertos are thrilling. The rest? Didn’t like much so far.

    3. Michael Schaffer says:

      sdReader says:

      February 18, 2014 at 9:21 am

      “Deutsche Grammophon bimbo!”

      In a recent discussion, our friend sdReader referred to Hélène Grimaud as (quote) “a self-centered little fill-in-the-blank”.

      I don’t want to play armchair psychologist – but I think I see a pattern here.

      sdReader also let us know that her Mozart playing was “weak” and “un-Mozartean”, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to then explain what that actually means.

      1. sdReader says:

        Yes, you do.

  7. CDH says:

    I think anyone who can play the Prokofiev second as well as she can is no bimbo.

    Are there any pianists under 50 (aside from Gabriela Montero) who get a vestige of approval around here?

    1. Daniil Trifonov seems to be rather well liked. And justly so!

    2. Martin says:

      I give you a few under 50s I like:

      Nicholas Angelich

      Leif Ove Andsnes

      Fazil Say

      Antti Siirala

      Lars Vogt

      or the duo (Pianoduo.ch) Vilija Poskute & Tomas Daukantas

  8. Mel says:

    Yuja Wang is a “supreme colorist”? With her hard, one-dimensional tone ? Interesting …

    1. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

      “De gustibus non est discutandum”, I suppose.

    2. Cindy says:

      Amen, there is a lot of DG hype surrounding Yuja, but when it comes to musical basics such as voicing, it’s pretty bland. Maybe that is why the colorful clothing …


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