Pianist Joyce Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she also took home the awards for Best Performance of Chamber Music and of a New Work. A Steinway artist, in 2010 she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Yang has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and BBC Philharmonic, among many others, working with such distinguished conductors as James Conlon, Edo de Waart, Manfred Honeck, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, and Jaap van Zweden. She has appeared in recital at New York’s Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Museum, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, and Zurich’s Tonhalle.
Highlights of Yang’s 2016/17 season include her debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and San Diego Symphony , a return to the Pacific Symphony and recitals in Anchorage, Beverly Hills, Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Seattle, and at Spivey Hall in Georgia, and concerts with her frequent duo partner, violinist Augustin Hadelich, in Dallas, New York City, Saint Paul, San Francisco, and more. She also performs at Chamber Music International in Dallas with the Alexander String Quartet, with whom she has recorded the Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets.
Fall 2016 marks the release of her first collaboration with Hadelich for Avie Records, and the world premiere recording of Michael Torke’s Piano Concerto, created expressly for her and commissioned by the Albany Symphony. Additional appearances showcasing her vast repertoire include performances as orchestral soloist in Arizona, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas. In Summer 2016 she appeared at the festivals of Aspen, Brevard, Lake Tahoe, Steamboat Springs and Sun Valley.
Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1986, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at age four. In 1997 she moved to the United States to study in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School. After winning the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just twelve years old. Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Cliburn Competition.
Lyric pieces (selections) .………………….. EDVARD GRIEG (1843 – 1907)
Book I: Op. 12, No. 1: Arietta
Book V: Op. 54, No. 4: Notturno
Book X: Op. 71, No. 1: Once upon a time
Book V: Op. 54, No. 5: Scherzo
Book X: Op. 71, No. 3: Puck
Anne Landa Preludes (2006) ……………………. CARL VINE (1954 – )
Ever After Ever
Milk for Swami Li
Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 ……….. ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
Etude 1 – 12
The Man I Love…………………GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898 – 1937)
Arranged by Earl Wild
PROGRAM NOTES: Anne Landa Preludes by Carl Vine
1. Short Story
This prelude contains a story. But the drama emerges through its own internal logic rather than from a specific series of predetermined events.
One problem with pianos is that their keyboards are straight while our bodies are not. Interesting compensatory techniques have evolved so that our organically radial appendages may move more rapidly around these unyielding contraptions.
My first piano teacher often reprimanded me for ‘thumping’ on the keyboard. She was so stern that it took me years to discover that playing loudly might also arise from good musicianship. Here is an open invitation to ‘thump’, although finesse is still advised.
4. Ever After Ever
Only impermanence lasts forever – everything else permanently changes. Our personal ‘ever after’ is only as much of the ever remaining to us from now on. Living happily in that ever after is no simple matter. Even if you accept that impermanence is everlasting.
5. Two Fifths
Two fifths are not always forth percent. In this case two series of fifths mutate playfully into sixths and fourths and the occasional third. (Footnote: this prelude was originally known as ‘The Goblin’s Catwalk’, but the teddy bears finished the cake at the picnic. It was then a ‘Goblin’s Gavotte’ until the fairies won the demarcation dispute against the Federation of Garden Bottoms. The final attempt to invoke fairy-tale creatures failed after accusations of racial profiling were upheld in favor of the golliwogs).
6. Milk for Swami Li
Swami Li, of course, does not exist. If, however, he were ever to materialize in our reality, this music is the sustenance I would offer him.
Perhaps the trajectory of our lives is so oppressive that we need constant diversion to cope. Or else our lives have no real trajectory but consist entirely of unrelated diversions, some of which appear weighty. But then no primary path can exist from which to divert, and so there can be no such thing as a diversion. What appears diversionary turns out to be the primary trajectory of our lives. What to do then, if it gets boring?
Chinese cuisine views taste as the combined effect of five fundamental qualities: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot. The English view of ‘sweet’ and ‘sour’ as simple opposites doesn’t quite do justice to properties more at home on a continuous spectrum. This prelude is neither simply sweet with bitter undertones not sad saccharine overtones, but something more integrated.
A tarantella is a dance, generally in triple time, connected in some way to spiders. The terpsichorean arachnids in this case are Ariadne and her brother Trevor, who are perversely quintupeds instead of the usual eight-legged variety. Like most siblings they argue often, but have been brought up believing that it is unlucky to dance the tarantella alone.
Somewhere through the last century the word ‘romance’ lost the remainder of its mystery, excitement, intrigue, and passion. It lost, in short, its romance, leaving behind a sullen husk of sentimentality and dogeared novellas. Which is a pity since love must still elicit some range of feeling beyond the enticing rush of hormones – some genetically noble background to simple animal necessity. Or perhaps I’m just a romantic.
Identifying the sequence of pitch intervals within a melody as the source of its unifying power was a critical development in music of the Baroque. This is nowhere more apparent than in the magnificent fugues of the period. To avoid too close a comparison with those marvels of musical architecture. I offer here just a ‘small’ sample.
Not every chorale needs to be religious, not necessarily to be sung. References to this essentially liturgical form still seem to end up invoking a sense of pensiveness.