Flash! Yuja’s latest skimpies

Flash! Yuja’s latest skimpies


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2014

Yuja Wang, the Chinese pinaist, made her name in the Hollywood Bowl three years ago in a scrap of orange.

She was back last night, having refreshed the wardrobe. The new outfits:

yuja wang salonen-bowl-la0018975206-20140717                    yuja wang-salonen-bowl-la0018975203-20140717

photo credit: (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)


Mark Swed’s review here.


One more (or less):


yuja wang-salonen-bowl-la0018975205-20140717



  • Paul Pelkonen says:

    “pianist.” 😉

  • GEll says:

    The Katherine Jenkins of piano.

  • Alexandra Ivanoff says:

    Interesting … she cancelled two of her concerts at the end of June because, according to the official report, she had had an accident for which her doctor ordered her to stop performing for three months.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    Don’t you just love the “cultural” elitist snobs……..of course if it had been the old plodder Brendel they would have been falling over themselves with sycophancy.
    And of course none of the established “acceptable” classical musicians have EVER cancelled concerts for what may be considered dubious / doubtful reasons.
    There is a growing misogyny (particularly amongst critics) towards young female soloists…….it couldnt be because 95% of critics are men could it?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Pardon us for breathing, but who is she wearing those skimpies for if not for lascivious men?

      • Ellingtonia says:

        Have you actually asked her about her fashion choices……….
        Your comment perhaps says more about your mind than it does about Ms Wangs wardrobe (stereotyping and gender assumptions)
        I find her outfits attractive particularly the little short dress and I would rather see someone who has taken some pride in her appearance than some middle aged bloke who walks on stage looking as though he has just lifted his clothes out of a suitcase and put them on……..
        I seem to remember that the critics got their knickers in a twist over the dresses that Georgian pianist Katja Buniatishvilli wore a little while ago.
        I am trying to work out what it is about classically trained female musicians who dress very fashionably that brings out the ire in critics?

      • Observer says:

        Why would you think, or believe, that she is dressing “for” you or for any other man? And yes, I refer to you personally because you said “Pardon us … lascivious men.” If you meant something other than to include yourself among the lascivious men, then I apologize.

        Your leering patermalism is showing, disturbingly so.

        She dresses as other women her age dress. Big deal.

        I’m more interested in hearing expert opinions on her musicianship, not leering and lascivious comments on her wardrobe, with close-up photos.

        When will you start giving male performers the same sort of scrutiny and assessment?

        • norman lebrecht says:

          Hold the random insults, lady. We treat men, women, all races and sexual orientations as equals on this site.
          Ms Wang, who is not gay, was dressing to catch men’s eyes.

          • Jim Cotter says:

            How on earth can anyone presume to know what motivates her clothing choices?

          • cascadehkr says:

            Fat isn’t relevant to opera, https://slippedisc.com/2014/05/slipped-disc-editorial-fat-should-not-be-an-issue-in-opera/, but dress is relevant to pianism or musicality? What a duplicitous stance, gratuitous and bitchy to boot. Who cares how Ms. Wang dresses or for what reasons?

          • Rgiarola says:

            When lang lang splashed water on himself during a video clip in a kind of wet t-shirt competition, the post on this blog was quite similar. I think both male and female pianists received the same treatment, for similar attitudes. I can’t see too much sexism, but I can see some naïve comments here. If it is the way any other girl same age dress, why others don’t do it at the stage? Marina Yakhlakova, Alice Sara Ott, Vilde Frang, yulianna avdeeva, kim su-yoen, nicola Benedetti, Chloe Hanslip, Alexandra Soumm, Alina Ibragimova, Jennifer Pike etc. They are all same age, but they don’t dress equally. Or even pop stars such Demi Lovato that is 5 years younger than Yuja, doesn’t dress like that at the stage. However older ones do like Jenifer Lopes, Madonna, Britney spears, Lady gaga and any other artists that brings sexy appeal to the stage as a tool (And at the least these 4 names admit they do it. Why not?)

            Personally I like Ms. Wang dress, however I hope she will present other things at the stage as much as she get older and older. Martha Argerich was already a top-notch pianist and not just a cute woman in 1965, but on 2014 she is a charming lady and one of the best pianist ever. What long distance to run for Yuja.

      • Sarah says:

        Today I learned women can’t dress sexy to feel sexy. When I’m getting ready in the morning I only think I’m interested in appearing presentable and feeling good about my looks. What I’m really doing is prepping myself for men to stare at me.

        • norman lebrecht says:

          That is a hyperbolic distortion of the specific situation. However, if that’s how you feel…

      • Scott says:

        The only people who keep mentioning her style of dress are the ones who are fixated on it. For whatever the reason. The fact that you can’t seem to get past it tells me that it is either arousing feelings that you can’t deal with or…distracting you SO MUCH that you can’t concentrate on her playing. Either way…GROW UP!

      • Marya Berry says:

        Lascivious women! 🙂

  • Paul Pelkonen says:

    I’ve seen Ms. Wang play on four or five occasions and generally enjoyed her artistry.

    Reviews on my blog: http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/search/label/Yuja%20Wang

  • Sandra says:

    I wish you MEN would stop assuming every critic on the internet is MALE. That’s the real sexism here. Some of us young women (I am only 5 years older than Yuja) don’t appreciate her pianism because it’s based on technical flash rather than musicianship and imagination. The clothing is symptomatic of the flash and a way to find a “niche” for herself. It also has the convenient benefit of intimidating critics into saying nice things lest any critique of her performance be mistaken for sexist commentary in response to the clothing.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      See the last sentence of my previous response as I refer to critics and it is not gender specific……………

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Hear, hear, couldn’t agree more…

      • Sandra says:

        That her male fans feel the need to defend her from every criticism, like knights in shining armour, is another more insidious and subtle kind of sexism. Although once one notices the pattern, it is amusing in a tragicomic way.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    I am not defending her or her musicianship (although I can’t help but notice the pretentious comment about “musicianship and imagination”) but simply her right to dress as she pleases without any of the putdowns.
    She is a grown woman and has the right to dress as she pleases…..

  • Brian says:

    It’s worth keeping in mind that what Yuja wears is rather conservative by the standards of most female Top 40 pop musicians today. Look at the outfits on Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus or Beyonce to cite three obvious examples.

    My take is it’s completely fair game for a music critic to comment on this (in an appropriate manner). Critics are at concerts to report on the whole experience, not just whether all the notes were played properly.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      I am happy for critics to comment on “appearance” when they can demonstrate that they have any dress sense themselves.

  • Sandra says:

    And we are to assume that because you find her clothing “attractive” that this constitutes “dress sense”?

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Define dress sense please …………..

      • Sandra says:

        In principle, you should, since you brought it up. But then, this is distracting from the matter of Yuja’s pianism, which is perhaps why her clothing is such an important part of her “persona” in the first place.

        • Ellingtonia says:

          So you are unable to define dress sense……….which sort of invalidates any of your comments about her appearance.
          I dont know whether or not you have noticed but we have moved into the 21st century and women are able to choose for themselves what they will wear without the sanction of any music critic or sanctimonious musician……………… and pray what qualifies you to assess her pianistic / musical qualities?
          It is noticable that in the last year both Nicola Bennedetti and Alison Balsom have come in for the sneering criticism about their appearance………never seems to happen to young male musicians does it (Although Nige gets it in the neck fairly regular)
          Do I detect a spot of envy here…………….?

  • Jonas says:

    Vienna Philharmonic, sexist? Alright, Norman. Alright.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Marie Harf: “Wang’s wardrobe helps us focus attention on her pianism”
    Matt Lee: “Do you have proof of what you advance?’
    Marie Harf: “It’s obvious Matt, you stayed at the concert, no?”

  • M2N2K says:

    This concert was not “last night”, but a week earlier, on Thursday July 17. Most important, she played brilliantly, especially the Prokofiev. She dresses the way she does not for someone else, but primarily for herself, because she feels good that way. If she did not, she would not be able to play the way she does.

  • Cambridge says:

    It is quite amusing to hear the chorus of disapproval, led by the puritanical Mr Lebrecht, who has published under the sensationalist title, “Yuja’s latest skimpiest!” Well, Norman, she sure has YOUR attention!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      False assumption. She has my attention as much as Lang Lang and Yudi do. I’m involved with music in China.

  • Sandra says:

    You brought up “dress sense” as a metric for evaluating the appearance, after you had claimed that you found the clothing attractive. Now you refuse to define “dress sense.” I suppose we must then guess that when you find clothing on a woman attractive, therefore she has dress sense? What qualifies you to asses “dress sense” for anyone? Dare I suggest you are merely swayed by a pretty young woman ? You would not be the first to defend her so righteously. She needs no defense.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    Close your eyes and listen, I’d say. In the end is is all about music. Or not?

  • JCoker says:

    For what reasons must the analysis of the quality of Ms. Wang’s choices of concert apparel necessarily belong only to cisgendered masculine spectators?

    “Ms Wang, who is not gay, was dressing to catch men’s eyes.”

    Is not the assumption that such is the only conclusion perhaps severely reductive? Why must such choices only be analyzed in the context of their assumed sexual value for men? Why are the outfits necessarily to be seen as purely sexual? And, even if all these are to be granted fully – why would sexuality in a classical performer, in this century, invalidate by any means their measure as a serious artist?

  • darling publications says:

    the fact that at the moment of my comment there are already 33 comments able to be read, shows that Norman´s choice to comment this “dressing” issue was obviously of some interest.
    i have never heard or seen Yuya yet, and to be honest, nor the comments about her dressing and playing, nor some images were very inspiring to get more curious.

  • Christos Noulis says:

    Thank you to Norman Lebrecht for having, once more, raised a debate which brings to the surface important changes that classical music (and indeed the whole of society) is going through in the 21st century. I found it fascinating to read all of the comments and arguments above as they all are informative of the state of how we perceive classical music performers nowadays. Some of the comments are done through the lens of the1950s cultural and social perceptions, some through the lens of the 1960s, the 70s etc. What I find extremely important and educative is that many artistic virtues are revisited and re-evaluated: virtuosity, musicianship, showmanship, artistry, depth (or shallowness) of interpretation. Is the era of the pianist-protagonist ending? Is the focus on sound no more the priority of a music performance? If so, is it legitimate to focus and grade/evaluate a performer as a whole? Is gender still an issue in the 21st century performing arts? Is it utopic to expect the artist of 2010s to convey their art through the same frame of mind that an artist in the 80s or 90s would? Again, thank you all for the fantastic and different views. I certainly know that, as a performer, this whole debate is food for thought.

  • terry baer says:

    Ms Wang has redefined the world of classical piano for the better. Since Horowitz, it was all but moribund. THANK YOU YUJA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alison Curtis says:

    For me there are only two stunning female pianists of this generation that have substance: Yuja Wang and Marina Yakhlakova. The other pianists mentioned above have been doctored up to fit a formula, yet their pianism just doesn’t make the grade. That is, without the chops, (and the ability to completely hold your own against the male competition) no amount of beauty or skimpy outfits will get you a career. (Of course, I ADORE violinist Alina Ibragimova).

    Yuja Wang has a formidable technique. She is insanely good and I mean WOW! But sadly for me, what she wears detracts from a stunning command of the piano. Sometimes it makes me feel sick, especially that blue one above on the right that looks like a sweaty sports bra! I saw one man post on his facebook: “sometimes Yuja even plays the piano….. but it is not completely necessary.” OUCH!!!! Watching Yuja’s videographer zoom in on her breasts and legs as her hands remain out of focus is almost comedic but a little sad; she deserves better.

    On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you have Yakhlakova who comes armed with the ability to transcend. Where Yuja is pyrotechnics and skirt, Marina brings something very spiritual to the table that classical music lovers have been so desperately starved and deprived of. She is innocent but as Louis Lortie said, She has a very deep soul.

    So I am torn. It is like Martha Argerich had two children. She parted one gift to one, and another to the other. Is there room for both? or will these talents fall by the waste side in a way that will never happen to Lang Lang by virtue of gender.

    I don’t know.

    But for now, I love them both!

  • Jeff says:

    Yuja is super hot! Hope Maxim does a shoot. Can’t wait to see her tight sexy body in a micro bikini. Reckon Yuja’s hotness has drawn the larger world into the classic world. Hope that don’t rattle the snobby cage to much.

  • Steven Gevirtz says:

    Yuja is a genius…Hello!! And :
    Music is blind, one uses their ears to hear it… Hello!!
    Human beings are become a distracted species and we are loosing intentional awareness.
    Really!! Listen to the MUSIC!!