Yuja Wang to Perform Beethoven and Brahms in Surprise Encore Concerts​​

For Immediate Release—Santa Cruz, Calif. Santa Cruz Symphony Music Director, Daniel Stewart, announced at the March 25 & 26 “Fratres” concerts that Yuja Wang will be returning to Santa Cruz County for a surprise set of encore concerts on June 24 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and June 25 at the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts in Watsonville.

“Following the rapturous reception to Yuja Wang's debut with the Santa Cruz Symphony this past February, it is a unique honor to look forward to presenting her for the second time this season, in a pair of surprise encore concerts. After having brought the final concertos of both Prokofiev and Brahms for our previous concerts, we thought it would be fun to program the first concertos of both Beethoven and Brahms for our next concerts together,” states Music Director Daniel Stewart. “Where else in the world could one hope to hear Yuja Wang perform four piano concertos in four months?”

It is a distinct tribute to her working relationship with Stewart that she is returning so quickly to perform with him and the Santa Cruz Symphony again.

“Under Stewart’s inspired guidance, Yuja and the orchestra created a musical conversation within the challenging concertos that left a lasting impression of symphonic harmony,” said Fleur Williams of LocalSantaCruz.com of their first concerts in February.

“Yuja Wang is one of those incredible pianists...with the ability to set the keyboard on fire with her technical capacity and musical prowess to master a nearly impossible work while displaying a depth of understanding and an effortless virtuosity,” said Joe Sekon of PeninsulaReviews.com. “She demonstrated these skills in Sunday’s concert where she was perfectly matched with Maestro Stewart’s keen ear and direction.

San Francisco Classical Voice agrees. “The orchestra under Stewart’s baton was crisp, energetic, and tightly wound. Yuja matched this quality with ease. The result was an enjoyable performance of a spiky concerto.”

Yuja Wang was born in Beijing and encouraged at age six to make music by her dancer mother and percussionist father, starting the never-ending thirst for knowledge that has sustained her musical development. . Wang’s exceptional gifts were widely recognized in 2001 with her appointment as a Steinway Artist, and again the following year when she was offered a place at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Gary Graffman.

By the time Yuja graduated from the Curtis Institute in May 2008, she had already gathered momentum following the spectacular success of her debut three years earlier with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. Wang attracted widespread international attention in March 2007 when she replaced Martha Argerich on short notice in performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and within the span of just a few seasons she was working with conductors of the highest calibre. Over the past ten years of her career, she has worked with such pre-eminent Maestros as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, and Zubin Mehta.

For those who have yet to see Yuja Wang live in concert, this is an opportunity to hear, as the Washington Post describes her, “quite simply, the most uncannnily gifted pianist in the concert world today."

Tickets go on sale at noon Wednesday March 29 online at SantaCruzTickets.com, at the Civic Box Office at 307 Church Street in Santa Cruz or by calling the box office at (831) 420-5260.

Founded in 1958, the Santa Cruz Symphony's mission is to inspire, educate and engage through artistic excellence, distinctive musical performances, and varied activities that celebrate and enhance cultural vibrancy. With Maestro Daniel Stewart as Music Director since 2013, the Symphony partners regularly with regional and international guest artists in both traditional and modern concerts. A cornerstone of the performing arts in the Greater San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, Santa Cruz Symphony receives frequent critical acclaim. Visit santacruzsymphony.org for more information.

(Photo credit: Kirk Edwards)