Stars from China lining up in western classical music (cont'd)
Wang Yuja will tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Asia (Tchaikovsky Second Piano Concerto, in Taipei and Japan) later this month and in the first half of November, with more concerts coming up in Los Angeles and with the Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia, then on to Florence to play Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and to Barcelona for a sturdy bout of Messiaen, much of this within the span of one month, an incredible schedule. Quite regardless of her short and provocative dresses, which are hotly debated on the internet, and attract as much excitement as her playing – we feel that she comes out an absolute winner, simply one of the world's finest classical pianists of today.
Meanwhile, still younger Chinese stars are lining up to climb the Everest of bravoura playing and heart-melting lyricism in western classical music. What to think of the electrifying art of pianist Zhang Zuo, finalist in the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition, and now in the final season of her two-year residency with the BBC's
Flagship New Generation Artists program? She may think that a great career needs a suitable artist's name, and promotes herself as Zee Zee, quasi-turning herself into a female equivalent of Lang Lang. But indeed, her technique and sense of drama sometimes hardly fall short of Lang Lang's: she plays like a tiger, and draws her listeners into the music with violence if needs be. Her greatest weapon is brilliant timing. Beethoven and Schubert sonatas may sometimes come out a bit heavy-handed, but in pieces like Liszt's Feux follets Zhang Zuo can conjure up tremendous power and fairytale-like lightness. Concert Hall De Doelen in Rotterdam invited her in May this year to replace Li Yundi in a concert, and Zee Zee's star is now rising very rapidly. She has concerts ahead at the Beijing Music Festival, and with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Yu Long, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. For more on Zhang Zuo you can visit her site (www.zhang-zuo.com) or watch her on Youtube in Beethoven and Tchaikovsky during the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition.