Press Room

Yuja Wang Is Named 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence of China’s National Center for the Performing Arts


At a press conference in Beijing today, Yuja Wang was named the 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence of China’s National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The appointment represents a welcome and timely homecoming for the Beijing-born pianist, who is the first female pianist from China to achieve international stardom and only the Center’s second Artist-in-Residence. Comprising six curated concerts of Romantic and 20th-century repertoire, as well as masterclasses, lectures, and other outreach activities, the residency includes a chamber music extravaganza with award-winning Austrian percussionist Martin Grubinger; a complete Bartók concerto cycle with the NCPA Orchestra; Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G; a solo recital; and performances with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Yuja left China at age 14 – years before the opening of the NCPA in 2007 – to study at the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary and later at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Now, having spent the latter half of her life based outside of China, the 28-year-old looks forward to returning to a native city that is at the heart of a booming performing arts scene. Yuja comments:

“This is a true homecoming for me. Music in China is at such an exciting point in its evolution, and I feel fortunate that the NCPA has invited me to be part of that. I finally have the opportunity to share my music with fans and friends from my homeland, and to play incredible works with childhood friends who are now members of the NCPA Orchestra. Residencies give you the chance to be creative and to get to know musicians and their home audience over time – you develop a shared intuition, a shared imagination.”

Xiaolong Ren, Deputy Director of the NCPA and Managing Director of the NCPA Orchestra, adds:

“Our expectation for our Artist-in-Residence is that she should be not only an accomplished musician, but also an internationally-respected ambassador for the arts. Yuja and the NCPA have a longstanding friendship. Her achievements are now recognized by people all around the world, and NCPA is delighted to have the opportunity for us to pursue our shared visions and goals.”

Yuja’s association with the NCPA dates back to 2009, when she made her Chinese solo recital debut at the center, since which time – despite her increasingly full concert schedule – she has returned to the NCPA stage each year. Last season, she joined the NCPA Orchestra and its chief conductor, Lü Jia, as soloist on their historic first North American tour, which celebrated 35 years of diplomacy between China and the United States.

The NCPA residency marks the most recent in a series of international appointments for the pianist. As passionate and curious a musician as she is an accomplished one, Yuja has increasing found herself in partnerships with performing arts organizations that go beyond the typical subscription-week program. Last season, she served as Artist-in-Residence of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich during the inaugural season of its new Chief Conductor and Music Director, Lionel Bringuier. In 2013-14, she was the subject of a London Symphony Orchestra “Artist Portrait” series, in which she gave three orchestral concerts and a solo recital.

Like the upcoming NCPA residency, Yuja’s current season testifies to her breadth, versatility, and global reach as an artist. The announcement comes on the heels of her fall tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, on which she played Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto in Amsterdam and across Asia, and the release of her latest solo recording for Deutsche Grammophon, Yuja Wang: Ravel. Next follow winter performances of Mozart’s “Jeunehomme” Concerto for her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, and engagements with the Los Angeles, Israel, and New York Philharmonics, respectively led by Bringuier, Zubin Mehta, and Charles Dutoit. Later this season, Yuja revisits Tchaikovsky’s Second with the Moscow Philharmonic, showcases both concertos on a U.S. tour with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Symphony, and rejoins the New York Philharmonic for Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen. She also looks forward to giving solo recitals in France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States, where she crowns a seven-city tour with her eagerly anticipated return to Carnegie Hall.

(photo: Hui Lan CC BY 2.0)

(photo: Hui Lan CC BY 2.0)

Since opening in late 2007, China’s National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has become one of the leading institutions of its kind worldwide. Across four state-of-the-art performance spaces, the Beijing-based arts center presents more than 850 events each year, ranging from concerts and opera, ballet, and theater productions to education and outreach programs that have reached more than 3.2 million participants to date. Committed to promoting contemporary music and culture, NCPA has premiered new commissions from composers including Toru Takemitsu, Michael Gordon, Augusta Read Thomas, and Joby Talbot, besides commissioning and producing new opera, dance, and stage plays. The NCPA partners with such eminent international organizations as Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Orchestra, La Comédie-Française, and London’s Royal Opera House.

Besides serving as a key destination for visiting artists, the venue is home to resident ensembles including the National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra. One of China’s premier orchestras, this was founded in 2010, and has, under the leadership of chief conductor Lü Jia, given numerous critically acclaimed performances at the arts center and beyond. Recent highlights include the Gustav Mahler Project, the Chinese premiere of Ring Without Words, and collaborations with such world-class artists as Plácido Domingo, Christoph Eschenbach, Lang Lang, and Lorin Maazel. As resident orchestra for the NCPA’s opera productions, the NCPA Orchestra has also performed in more than 20 operas, many of which had never previously been staged in China.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.


Yuja Wang: 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence
National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing, China

Residency highlights:

Aug 18, 2016
Yuja Wang and Friends Concert
Featuring Martin Grubinger

Aug 20, 2016
NCPA Orchestra / Shao-Chia Lü
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 1
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major

Sep 2, 2016
Solo Recital

Nov 18, 2016
San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2

Jan 6 & 7, 2017
NCPA Orchestra / Lü Jia
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Jan 6)
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Jan 7)

#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, November 2015

Yuja Wang (photo: Norbert Kniat, DG)

Return to Press Room