The next Chinese star pianist is 9 years old. Prepare to be amazed.
This is Serena Wang, whose debut disc will appear next month of Channel Classics. Read nothing more until you’ve watched this:
So we asked Jared Sacks of Channel Classics Records how he found her. Here’s the full story:
There is plenty of ‘young talent’ around. Especially out of Asia. Technically speaking incredible. But when I had this experience of hearing Serena play it certainly goes beyond what we call normal. How does one have this musical timing at that age. How does the brain comprehend this kind of depth. Like the spirit of someone speaking through her (and, believe me, I am not a religious man!).
I have worked a good deal through the years in China, making recordings, lecturing, demonstrations of Hi res audio. Working closely with a Chinese enthusiast who has also been doing marketing for me. This person got to know Serena’s father. Her parents know nothing about music but saw at an early age that they would have to get her special lessons. Serena goes to normal school but practices every day a couple of hours. Her parents do not push her in the least and are trying to keep her life as normal as possible.
I met the father last year around this time. He did not want the circus of the major labels so we talked about what we could do. Last summer Serena came with her teacher, her mother and older brother and we recorded a project of composers who wrote piano works for children. Poulenc, Shostakovich, and some Chinese works. We also did this Chopin to end the disc. My son made the video.
This is a disc geared to children, played by a child.
Serena has been playing the Beethoven 1st Concerto with Chinese orchestras and just played for the official Chinese New Years Concert in Bejing. Her father and teacher only let her do a tour 3 times a year so that her studies are not being hampered. She is however going to be playing with the Orchestra de Paris in October and has been asked to play with the New York Phil next season. On a whim she went to Tokyo a couple of months ago to take part in the Chopin competition there. I am told she won.
I made the recording with wet eyes. The honour of getting to know her and being a small part of her life. I just felt the need to let others know.
Chances are not good for child prodigies. Can they overcome the bridge to maturity? The constant attention, the comparisons? Can she become ‘worldly ‘ to continue to develop her musical sense? Actually to me it really does not matter as for the here and now, she has already given so much. I work with the best like Ivan Fischer and Rachel Podger. But this purity in her playing does make music transcend over everything we love and care about. It is really that simple.