MEET YUJA WANG: The Pianist Whose Skimpy Outfits Are As Closely Watched As Her Concertos

Yuja Wang

Photo: AP

Yuja Wang is the 25-year-old Chinese pianist revamping the classical music scene with her tight, short, colourful dresses.When Wang played the Hollywood Bowl in August in a skimpy coral-coloured dress, the performer’s appearance stirred debate on blogs and in newspapers—with some going so far as to say “My poor eyes did not need to see the things they saw.”

“They were paying attention to this rather than the music,” Wang told the New York Times last week. “Which makes sense, as L.A. is kind of superficial and more visual. But they have rules about what classical musicians should be wearing, which I think is stupid.”

Criticism hasn’t stopped Wang from wearing her revealing dresses while performing; instead, she says “I can wear long and black too. I like being versatile … I wanted to do the shock value.”

1987: Yuja was born in Beijing to a dancer mother and percussionist father.

1993: Yuja started playing piano at six-years-old. Watch her expertly play Chopin as a young girl in pigtails.

1994: Yuja entered the Beijing Central Conservatory at age seven.

2001: At age 14, Yuja went to study at the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary, Alberta.

2002: Yuja entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, her parents remain in Beijing due to visa problems.

September 2005: Yuja was named a 2006 biennial Gilmore Young Artist award winner, given to the most promising pianists age 21 and younger. As part of the prize, she received $15,000.

January 2008: Yuja played at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan and, to standing ovations, returned to the stage for a triple encore.

January 2009: Yuja signed an exclusive recording contract for five discs with Deutsche Grammophon.

August 2011: Yuja wore a coral-and-black mini dress while performing at The Hollywood Bowl. The super-skimpy skirt causes controversy, with some saying it wasn't appropriate attire for a classical musician.

If not a pianist, Yuja says she would like to be a choreographer of modern dance or clothing designer, since she loves fashion.

In her downtime, Yuja told the New York Times she loves saunas and reading books on her Kindle.

Watch Yuja's insanely fast fingers at play.

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