Just in: Yuja’s back

Just in: Yuja’s back


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2021

Message, after a long silence, from our favourite skimpy pianist:

I can’t wait to be back on stage this weekend with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by my friend Eric Jacobsen! Looking forward to playing some Strauss with wonderful colleagues and friends.
“‘She is simply without par in the piano world today, and I can’t wait to work with her to bring Strauss’s witty, zany and virtuosic ‘Burleske’ to Orlando Philharmonic audiences,’ wrote Philharmonic music director Eric Jacobsen, describing Wang’s visit as ‘a dream come true.'”



  • yujafan says:

    Enough on the ‘skimpy’ comments already, her artistry will speak for itself. It’s great to have Yuja back behind a keyboard at last!

    • violafan says:

      Seriously, Norman’s obsession with Yuja is so creepy.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      She’s grown tremendously as an artist, which I give her tremendous credit for, and in her repertoire she’s well worth hearing. I heard her initial BSO performance with Charles Dutoit of Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto in place of the cancelled Martha Argerich, and I really didn’t like it. Of course, notwithstanding the thunderous response from the audience (who were watching theatrics more than they were listening to music-making, in my opinion). But she’s become more soulful in her playing and I appreciate that she seems to continue to push herself and not rest on laurels. I’m enjoying her artistic journey and look forward to her finally tackling the core Germanic repertory (Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) rather than the usual Russian and French suspects.

      • Karin Becker says:

        May a good musical god prevent Ms. Wang from playing compositions of Beethoven and Schubert. It has failed Beethoven’s op 106 and op 111 and Schubert’s posthumous Sonata in A major. Others can do better and that is a good thing.

  • sam says:


    Looks more like Yuja’s front.

  • JF says:

    “‘She is simply without par in the piano world today”

    Hmmm, does Evgeny Kissin not count?

  • The View from America says:

    I’d count the Orlando Philharmonic musicians and audience members lucky.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Indeed: Strauss’ Burleske deserves to be played much more often! It would be great to pair it with another single-movement concerted piece — the Faure Ballade, perhaps?

  • Karl says:

    Lucky Floridians. Any idea how many people can attend? All I see on the website is “The number of patrons is reduced for all venues to allow for social distancing in seating areas and venues.” I also see that it’s at Exploria Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium. I’m sure the acoustics are superb. lol.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Some of us are rather more interested in her piano playing. She might have chosen a better piece than Strauss’ rather tuneless trivia

    • Ludwig's Van says:

      The Strauss Burleske is tuneless? Where do you think Bernstein poached the theme for his West Side Story hit-song “Somewhere”?

  • Joel Lazar says:

    The Strauss is a wonderful piece, curiously neglected [as are so many of the one-movement Konzertstücke] by many conductors and pianists but championed by a select few, including in recent memory R. Serkin and Arrau, currently Argerich and Barenboim, Sara Davis Buechner…When was the last time our readers heard a live performance of the Fauré Ballade, Franck Symphonic Variations or Nights in the Gardens of Spain, or either Schumann Introduction and Allegro [Opp 92 or 134]?

  • Better to watch the Yeol Eum Son Youtube channel

  • Arthur says:

    I’m not disputing her world-class talent, but I find her blatant, in your face (or wherever) promotion of her sexual allure distracting, her dress and nonstop facial gestures both. There are lines here—agreed, you shouldn’t hate someone just because they’re beautiful—perhaps sexy is the better term, ancient as it is—but YW has crossed them years ago. It’s tiresome and interferes with my attending to her performances. In my younger days, I’m sure I would be smitten like most people. But at 81, things change. There are a lot of very attractive female musicians, e,g., Janine Janson and Alice Sara Ott, but YW sticks out in a bad way as far as I’m concerned.

    • Karin Becker says:

      It is good to read your text. Ms. Wang may be a great talent, but she has chosen her (successful) marketing strategy that repels me: “flying fingers” combined with lots of bare skin. When I buy a ticket for a concert, I want to listen to music and not have to study the soloist’s back muscles or look at her bare thighs and buttocks – unasked. Ms. Wang turns a concert hall into a bar, optionally with table dancing. But men, young and older, love Wang because of that.

    • Geoff says:

      At 86 I have a different viewpoint. She is, just, a young woman and she says she dresses as a young woman. Good for her. She is only “sexy” in your mind. As for your “blatant promotion of her sexual allure” I suspect that is all done by the company that is marketing her cds. I do often wonder what is in her mind when she uses all those facial expressions while she is playing. I was booked to hear her play in Philadelphia last year, but that was canceled by Covid. I would gladly go to hear her play anywhere even if she wore a neck-to-toes black dress. As for Arthur’s “very attractive female musicians” to me all females are attractive, as they are also musicians. My first Yuja Wang concert was many years ago in Ottawa when she filled in for a sick Radu Lupu in October 2006. Wish I could go to Orlando.

    • Ludwig's Van says:

      And it’s all so unnecessary – people would go to hear Yuja Wang if she was wearing a potato sack.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Ever thought of closing your eyes at a concert? I find it helps me hear more deeply, no matter who is playing.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    When ever I see the work Burleske by Strauss I am reminded of the story of Previn and Szell that I have heard from various sources close to the mix so it must be true.

    Previn was hired by the CO management to perform the work with Szell conducting but Szell wanted Previn to play for him before he approved of the engagement.

    Previn made to trip to Cleveland from LA. At Severance Hall he went into the dressing room of Szell and was surprised to find no piano in the room.

    When Previn asked for a piano, Szell told him to play the work showing his fingerings on a table in the room. At the end of the “audition”, Szell made several unfavorable comments to Previn which led Previn to say:

    “I don’t know if I agree with you Maestro, it sounded better on my table at home”.

    He didn’t get hired. But it’s a great story.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Wow! Yuja playing Strauss’ Burleske! Accordingly dressed?

  • hsy says:

    I remember an interview with her where she said when Berlin Philharmonic asked her to play Strauss Burleske for her debut with the orchestra, she refused because she disliked this piece. So she changed her mind!

    Also let’s not start a flame war about who is “without par in the piano world”. That’s silly marketing talk.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    Quite frankly, I find it astonishing that SP is repeatedly engaged in illegitimate sexist posts on YJ. One may or may not like her artistry (in fact she is both a huge artist and a real star) but these posts and comments by white old males literally dripping over a great artist who also happens to be an attractive girl who rightly does not care about their chauvinistic attitudes – is disgraceful. There must be more respectable ways to attract traffic.

  • William Safford says:

    COVID-19 is racing through the Florida population, in part due to the willful incompetence of the governor and other state officials.

    Stay safe and healthy, Yuja. Be careful.

  • JussiB says:

    Yuja is truly without par, wang in a million.

  • Karin Becker says:

    Ms. Wang, at the age of 24, gave up clothes and preferred sheet music, – I suspect from the score for the Hammerklavier sonata: https://www.gettyimages.de/detail/nachrichtenfoto/yuja-wang-nachrichtenfoto/541093148

  • Karin Becker says:

    Ms. Wang, some say she is number one in the piano world, is known beyond classical music, even in the world of porn:https://de.xhamster.desi/photos/gallery/yuja-wang-sexy-classical-pianist-4385231
    https://mobileporn.cam/yuja-wang-walks-sexy-on-the-rythm-of-the-claps-asian-celebrity-high-heels-2231052.html) – That’s a big success!

    • Greg Bottini says:

      How’d you find this stuff? You’re Norman’s roomie, right? No fair going through his laptop….

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Yuja is no “skimpy pianist”. Sheesh!
    She is one of the finest pianists of the 21st century.
    If you are reading this, Yuja, please don’t let Norman’s juvenile comments bother you. He’s just got a big crush on you, that’s all.

  • Tristan says:

    Norman, your Yuja obsession is legitimately disturbing and disgusting. Chill out.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Orlando Bloom hired a whole orchestra just to get a skimpier soloiust than when he knocked some of Justin Beliber’s teath out f’one?

    • jaypee says:

      Is there any reason why Nijinsky’s gibberish is allowed here? It means nothing, it brings nothing and, frankly, it is quite obvious that he/she needs either English lessons or stronger medication.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    Should be drooling over not dripping….
    And put more simply sexist chauvinstic posts should not be part of any news blog let alone a classical music blog. This is pathetic and ridiculous.

    • Karin Becker says:

      Then photos, such as the photo of YW from a concert in Georgia, should not be included in the blog, because it shows the pure sexiness of the soloist. Please don’t forget: Ms. Wang is all about attracting attention with her clothes, about her performance, and she achieves that through polarization. So there are also critical comments here.

  • Nick says:

    Her artistry is very far from skimpy!!!!

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    What orlandish outfit will she be wearing?

  • Paul says:

    Frumpy old Myra Hess wouldn’t stand a chance today, alas.

  • Karin Becker says:

    Miss Wang celebrates her birthday on February 10. She is now 34 years old. Surely many fans will want to congratulate her. I congratulate her with a photo that is ten years old.

  • Mary White says:

    She’s honestly the most amazing female pianist ever as far as I’m concerned. Have to move her above the great Martha.