From Prodigy to Polished Artist: The Incredible Rise of Yuja Wang, China's Talented Classical Pianist

From Prodigy to Polished Artist: The Incredible Rise of Yuja Wang, China's Talented Classical Pianist

Credit: Kirk Edwards


Yuja Wang is a Chinese classical pianist born in Beijing, China, on February 10, 1987. She began her journey in music when she was only six years old, as her family’s artistic inclination inspired her. Her mother (Zhai Jieming) and father (Wang Jianguo) are dancers and percussionists, respectively.


She committed to seven years of training at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music when she was seven years old. She also went to the Morningside Music Bridge International Music Festival at eleven years old, being the youngest student there.


At the age of 15, taught by Gary Graffman, Wang practiced at the Curtis Institute of Music for five years.


Wang's skill pleased Graffman during her audition, but "it was the intelligence and good taste" of her interpretations that set her apart, according to Graffman. Wang’s career gave her significant recognition, like becoming Musical America Artist of the Year in 2017, and a net worth of twenty million dollars.


Yuja Wang’s Successful Music Career


Yuja Wang is a talented artist that has honed her talents through effort and dedication. “She didn’t play like a prodigy. She played like a finished artist,” said Graffman about Yuja Wang.


Gary Graffman was a great teacher who taught Yuja Wang and also Lang Lang (a pianist too). He has helped Yuja become a better classical pianist and become more connected to music in all ways and forms in human life. “I want to relate all life to music,” she told the Observer.


Her numerous achievements display her hard work and passion for music. She won 3rd prize in the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists in Germany.


Wang also won third prize in 2001 in the piano section at the first Sendai International Music Competition, where she also won five hundred thousand Japanese yen.


She also won the concerto contest at the Aspen Music Festival (in the U.S.) in 2002. After 2007, her career starts taking off. In 2009, she signed her label with Deutsche Grammophon. In 2009, Grammophon named her “Young Artist of the Year.”


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