What Leon Fleisher taught Yuja Wang

What Leon Fleisher taught Yuja Wang


norman lebrecht

July 20, 2021

Clips from a distant masterclass, Carnegie Hall, 2004, when Yuja was 17.

She could hardly have had a better teacher.

‘Hanging onto long notes and moving little notes really gives you the best of both worlds.’




  • fflambeau says:

    Leon Fleisher was a mensch.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I HATE to be this honest but….

    I just watched a portion of it, but I haven’t heard much good about Fleisher, and him telling Yuja to slide on the keys for a beautiful tone, that was enough for me, when I have other more pressing things to do involving music….

    One gets a beautiful tone from balanced arms, fingers, and the rest of the body at the piano. What Maria Curcio taught.

    One only has to listen to Argerich, and the sound she gets out of the piano, even at the quietest moment, how balanced the voicing is, which she achieves effortlessly, because it’s become natural, and her technique doesn’t get in the way. Sliding around on the keys is sort of ridiculous to me, to get a “beautiful” tone.

    Yuja would do herself a favor to learn what Maria Curcio taught, it would add a whole new dimension to her playing, beyond turn it on and off…..

    • Ugh says:

      But what about Joshua Bell, Nijinsky?? Surely Joshua Bell comes into this somehow? If not now, then maybe the next time you forget your anti-psychotics, hm? Yes?

    • Tamino says:

      the sliding is one way to suggest, that the mental picture of the sound producing physical movement is not about hitting the key/note, but that the motion swings through it and continues. Many teach the same in essence, but all have individual ways to describe it.

    • Ferruccio says:

      This is a common commentary from an amateur. If you would know how to play the piano, you would not post this.

    • M McAlpine says:

      “Haven’t heard much good about Fleisher”? You obviously haven’t heard him play and you obviously can’t play yourself from this comment!

    • David says:

      It seems Yuga has decided to take your advice, her career really took off.

    • Fliszt says:

      Curcio & Fleisher both attended Schnabel’s classes in Lago di Como at the same time.

    • Rach3 says:

      I absolutely agree with you. I heard a lot about his nonsense. The proof is that he destroyed his own right hand!!

  • CRWang says:

    I really enjoyed Leon Fleischer’s “My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music.” Great read. Alas, a musical post about Ms. Wang and not about her legs or her clothes on this site.

  • Sixtus Beckmesser says:

    Beautiful playing from both of them. What a pleasure.

  • 88 says:

    I know that I will always be in the minority opinion when it comes to Leon Fleisher. I played for him, watched him teach, heard him conduct, and heard him play solo, chamber and concerto performances. We all have our favorites and if he was the right person for some, then he was the right person for them.

  • Nick says:

    Anybody destined to become a great pianist will find the approach to the instrument in its own way, no matter what s/he is taught!!