LSM Newswire

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The VSO presents rising-star pianist, Joyce Yang in an all-American program Great American Classics: Gershwin and Bernstein

Vancouver, BC – Hailed as having “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice) youthful pianist Joyce Yang’s star is quickly rising.  In her highly anticipated third return to the VSO stage, Yang will showcase her virtuosic and artistic talents in one of the most colourful piano pieces for the modern stage, Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety”.  VSO Conductor Laureate Kazuyoshi Akiyama conducts.  Saturday, May 10, 8pmSunday, May 11, 2pmMonday, May 12, 8pm: Orpheum Theatre.

Inspired after reading W.H. Auden’s poem The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue, Bernstein composed his Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety” as a musical response. In his own words Bernstein said of the composition, “...The essential line of the poem (and of the music) is the record of our difficult and problematical search for faith. In the end, two of the characters enunciate the recognition of this faith – even a passive submission to it – at the same time revealing an inability to relate to it personally in their daily lives, except through blind acceptance.”

Rounding out this all-American program are three pieces well-known and loved by Vancouver audiences:  the rhythmic Cuban Overture by beloved silver screen and theatre composer, George GershwinAppalachian Spring: Suite by Aaron Copland, originally written for famed American ballet choreographer, Martha Graham; and one of the most famous American works of all time,Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings—most famously heard in the movie Platoon (1986) where it is in fact performed by the VSO.


CONCERT INFO
Great American Classics: Gershwin and Bernstein
Kazuyoshi Akiyama, conductor
Joyce Yang, piano*

Masterworks Diamond Series Sponsor: Air Canada
Saturday, May 10 Concert Sponsor: HSBC Bank
Symphony Sundays Series Sponsor: Rogers Group Financial
Sunday, May 11 Concert Sponsor: Friends of the Vancouver Symphony

Saturday, May 10, 8pm: Orpheum Theatre
Sunday, May 11, 2pm: Orpheum Theatre
Monday, May 12, 8pm: Orpheum Theatre

Gershwin Cuban Overture
Copland Appalachian Spring
Barber Adagio
Bernstein Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”*


For media inquiries, please contact the VSO’s PR Associate, Caroline Márkos at 604.684.9100 x266



Biographies

     Kazuyoshi Akiyama, conductor
http://www.vancouversymphony.ca/media/media_room_display/AkiyamaKazuyoshi04.jpgKazuyoshi Akiyama has had long-standing relationships with the leading orchestras of Japan and now serves as Principal Conductor of the Hiroshima Symphony and also the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. The Tokyo Symphony has honored him with the title of Conductor Laureate. He has also been Music Director of the Syracuse Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony

Maestro Akiyama is the recipient of numerous citations, including the Suntory Music Award, the Kyoto Music Award, the Mainichi Arts Award, and the Arts Encouragement Prize of the Minister of Education. In 2001, he was awarded the Emperor’s Purple Ribbon Medal from the Japanese Government for his outstanding contribution to the country’s musical culture.


     Joyce Yang, piano
http://www.vancouversymphony.ca/media/media_room_display/YangJoyce01.jpgCritically acclaimed as "the most gifted young pianist of her generation" with a "million-volt stage presence," pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences around the globe with her stunning virtuosity combined with heartfelt lyricism and interpretive sensitivity. Just twenty six, she has established herself as one of the leading artists of her generation through her innovative solo recitals and notable collaborations with the world's top orchestras. In 2010 she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant – one of classical music's most prestigious accolades.

Ms. Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she became the Silver Medalist of the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. As the youngest contestant, she swept two additional awards as an all-around winner, receiving the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for Best Performance of Chamber Music with the Takàcs Quartet and the Beverley Taylor Smith Award for Best Performance of a New Work. Since her spectacular debut, Ms. Yang has flourished into an "astonishing artist" (Neue Zürcher eZeitung), and she continually appears with orchestras across the world. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, and BBC Philharmonic, among many others, working with such renowned conductors as Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, and Bramwell Tovey. In recital, Ms. Yang has taken the stage at New York's Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Chicago's Symphony Hall, and Zurich's Tonhalle.

Her exciting 12-13 season includes two important debuts: her German debut when she performs with the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra of Berlin with James Colon conducting in performances of the Bernstein Age of Anxiety, and her UK debut with a recital appearance in Cambridge, England for The Hazard/Chase Recital Series. Following a highly successful appearance in the 11-12 season with the Buffalo Philharmonic, stepping in for an ailing Lang Lang, Joyce Yang returns to the Buffalo Philharmonic with Music Director JoAnn Falletta conducting. She also returns to the Milwaukee Symphony where she continues her performances of the Rachmaninoff cycle with Music Director Edo de Waart. Her return appearances also include the Sydney Symphony performing the Tchaikowsky 1st Concerto with Charles Olivieri-Munroe, on the podium. Ms. Yang will also perform in recital at the Sydney Opera House in conjunction with these orchestral performances and will return to Melbourne, Australia where she will also perform in recital.

Joyce Yang's 12- 3 season also includes performances with the Toronto Symphony and the Detroit Symphony, with Toronto Symphony's Music Director Peter Oundjian conducting both orchestras.
An avid performer of chamber music, Joyce Yang performs with the Takâcs Quartet at the recently opened Soka University Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, CA and also with Paris based Modigliani Quartet at the new Green Center for the Performing Arts at Sonoma State University in Santa Cruz, California. She continues her collaboration with violinist Augustin Hadelich a with performance in Vancouver for the Vancouver Recital Society, and also journeys to Hawaii for performances with the Hawaii Chamber Music Society. Recital performances in the U.S include Baylor University, Honolulu, Des Moines, and San Antonio. Joyce Yang 's 2012 summer was highlighted by a performance at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival with the Emerson Quartet. Her summer also included returns to the Aspen Music Festival , and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Ms. Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut with Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall in November of 2006 and performed on the orchestra's tour of Asia, making a triumphant return to her hometown – Seoul, South Korea. Since then, she has appeared with the Philharmonic frequently, including the opening night of the Leonard Bernstein Festival in September 2008 at the special request of Lorin Maazel in his final season as Music Director. The New York Times called Yang's rendition of Bernstein's "Age of Anxiety" a "knock-out." In November 2011, Ms. Yang released a solo album for Avie, Collage, featuring piano works by Scarlatti, Liebermann, Debussy, Currier and Schumann.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Ms. Yang received her first piano lesson at age four from her aunt. She quickly took to the instrument, which she received as a birthday present. Over the next few years, she won several national piano competitions in Korea. By age ten, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and subsequently made a number of concerto and recital appearances in Seoul and Daejon. In 1997, Ms. Yang moved to the United States to begin studies at the Pre-College division of the Juilliard School in New York with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. During her first year at Juilliard, she won its Pre-College Division Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of the Haydn Concerto in D major with the Juilliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra. After winning the Philadelphia Orchestra's Greenfield Competition, she performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 when she was just twelve. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor, and is the recipient of the school's 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize and William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.

Joyce Yang is featured in In the Heart of Music, the film documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and she is a frequent guest on American Public Media's nationally syndicated radio program "Performance Today". Her debut disc, distributed by harmonia mundi usa, includes live performances of works by Bach, Liszt, Scarlatti, and the Australian composer Carl Vine. A Steinway Artist, she currently resides in New York City.


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