The US-Chinese pianist has offered an explanation on social media for performing in sunglasses on Friday night in Vancouver, an appearance that surprised an disappointed many in her audience. Here’s what Yuja writes on her Facebook page:
It is difficult for me to share this with all of you, but given the circumstances, and harmful speculation and criticism being shared online and elsewhere, I feel it important that the following is made public.
On arrival at Vancouver International Airport on Friday, I was detained for over an hour and subjected to intense questioning which I found humiliating and deeply upsetting. I was then released, giving me very little time to travel to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. I was left extremely shaken by this experience.
When I was dropped off at the venue for my recital that evening, my eyes were still visibly red and swollen from crying. I was in shock. Although I was traumatized by what happened, I was determined not to cancel the recital, but to go ahead with the performance and not to let the audience down, which included my dear teacher Gary Graffman. I decided that wearing sunglasses was the only way to prevent my distress from being seen, since I wasn’t yet prepared to make a statement about what happened.
My main concern in that moment was to give the best performance I possibly could, and not to allow the audience to be distracted by my swollen eyes or visibly shaken demeanor. It would never be my intention to snub or disengage with an audience. Everything I do on stage is about connecting with people. My audiences and fans sustain and nourish me as an artist.
I am deeply grateful to Leila Getz and her team in Vancouver, and to the audience there with me in the hall for their support throughout the day and evening.
My recital tour will continue, and I look forward to bringing my program to the audience in San Francisco tonight, and on to New York.
Thank you to everyone who has sent or shared words of support during this difficult time. I know that I am unfortunately not the only person to have had this kind of traumatic experience, which has shaken me to my core. My heart goes out to anyone else who has, and my hope is that by sharing what happened to me, there can be a much needed conversation and change in protocol to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
This is the picture she appends.
This is a picture of her, taken on stage at the end of the Vancouver recital.
photo: Mark Ainley
And here’s an Instagram clip from the recital:
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The queen 👸🏻 blessed our city with her presence last night.. it was my 1st concert ever and how special that it was the amazing @yujawang.official!!🙏🏼❤️❤️❤️❣️❣️ i played along from my seat! What a night!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #piano #yujawang #amazing #concert #pianist #pianokids #prodigy #pianoprodigy #pianoteacher #concertpianist #yuja #vancouver #performance #pianoconcert #ravel #chopin #recital #pianolessons #classicalmusic #music #queen #idol