Yuja goes off shoulder

Yuja goes off shoulder


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2019

What the pianist unwore for the LA Phil at London’s Barbican last night.

What do you call these – backless dungarees?

It was a cold night.

The costume was made by Rosemarie Umetsu.

She played the John Adams concerto.


  • BC says:

    Good for her. Her playing is fabulous and she doesn’t look like a bank manager on stage.

  • a colleague says:

    this is getting tiring. you, NL, go on and on about this. If the mode of dress truly disturbs you, then either don’t go to the performance, or keep your eyes shut while she is on the stage. Please stop this line of “criticism” or “reporting”…

  • Brian says:

    They appear to be overalls, as they’re known here in the States. I used to get them as a boy out of the Sears catalog. I don’t think they made them in black leather, however, and my mom made me wear a shirt underneath. 🙂

  • David says:

    I am repeatedly amazed by Ms. Wang. She plays absolutely dreamily. There seems to be nothing outside of her ability, all performed with charm, humor and elegance. However, everyone seems to think that because she does not dress traditionally, stodgily or completely covered that she’s some sort of circus freak.

    If she plays like she does and happens to look fantastic, what’s the downside?

  • Dennis says:

    For her that outfit actually has a pretty high fabric-to-bare skin ratio!

  • Calvin says:

    Rosemarie Umetsu has designed for the likes of Zukerman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang. I would far prefer to cast my eyes on Yuja any day. If you got it flaunt it. And that goes for all her all the ways in which she is extravagantly gifted.

  • M McAlpine says:

    You can get them at the local hardware store! Probably where Rosemarie got the idea from. Yuja should ask for her money back! Mind you, having heard Adams’ tuneless effort, no matter what you wore would improve it.

  • Alasdair Munro says:

    How well did Rosemarie Umetsu play?

  • M2N2K says:

    Fully detailed and comprehensive information about Yuja Wang’s attire is certainly of such tremendous importance to all of us that we may not be able to survive without it, but it would not hurt and may even be – dare I say it – refreshing indeed to be able to find here at least a brief mention of the quality of her performance of John Adams’ Concerto as well as possibly just a few words telling readers which THREE encores she played and how she played them.

  • Confused Muso says:

    There is no story here. Did her dress get in the way of the music? Incidentally, what was Maestro Dudamel wearing?

  • The View from America says:

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Audiences can’t wait for Bertrand Chamayou, Juho Pohjonen or Louis Schwizgebel to come onstage wearing a mankini …

  • LA Bass says:

    I guess a Society Column gets clicks……

  • Fred says:

    Poor taste is one thing, but the Yuja’s designer is actually a fraudster. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Yuja’s dress designer has a long history of not paying her employees and has been convicted by the Ministry of Labour numerous times. Yet Yuja continues to buy from her and associate with her. Read the CBC article.


    • Ed says:

      They have been designing Yuja for years and have made a positive contribution to classical music. It’s easy for people like you to judge and be negative but tell me, what have you done expect conjure negativity? I wonder why there has been no mention with the large conglomerates such as Versace, Armani, Prada etc who have done worse.

  • cym says:

    Looks like John Adams found his Eve …

  • Mike Z. says:

    Hey N.L. No comment on what she played?!? There’s been plenty of opportunity to hear it online. Assessment of Adams’ new concerto is why you have a wheelhouse, in case you’ve forgotten. Stick to it.

    And the next time you’re tempted to comment on Yuja’s couture, show us what you see in the mirror first so we can decide for ourselves whether your taste extends beyond music as well.

    — Mike

    PS. I’ll give you a couple days before reviewing “Must the Devil…” here in your stead 😉

  • Will Duffay says:

    What is it with dirty old men that they have to concentrate more on what Yuja wears than on how she plays? The problem is yours, not hers. Grow up.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, I’m a dirty old man. One of the 100 genders so let’s please allow 1,000 different comments if there can be that many genders. Don’t be precious; you don’t need to be with that many choices.

  • Robin says:

    Norman, your obsession with Yuja’s clothing is creepy. She’s a fantastic pianist, how about you focus on that.

  • yujafan says:

    The music and her playing is all that matters. Yuja will always be Yuja and thank goodness for that. If she appeared on stage wearing a paper bag I would not care as long as she plays the piano with her trademark passion, vivacity and musicality.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Why not, considering she is still young, and her repertoire does not feature much Viennese classics? It would be bit odd if her wardrobe remains similar in twenty years time though. Besides, her presentation on stage is infinitely preferable to that of a soloist like Nigel Kennedy & she is not an eccentric like Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Nor does she emote like Lang Lang. I would much rather have a bit of skin than to have annoying personalities and eccentrics.

  • john humphreys says:

    Adams and Eve – mouth watering

  • PeterSD says:

    Note that the blog posts drawing the most comment in the last 24 hours have been this one and the Astanova post. Since Slipped Disc gets revenue from the ads appearing on it, NL clearly has an incentive to post things likely to draw clicks.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing when it also enables him to post more substantive news, or news about lesser-known musicians: posts that draw few, if any, responses.

    I just wish he had at least linked to a review letting us know what London thinks of the Adams concerto and Wang’s performance…

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Personally I only post on these blogs to ensure Norman gets enough clicks from looking at Yuja. I would hate for him to go clickless.