Yang Plays Rachmaninoff
José Luis Gómez, conductor
Joyce Yang, piano
RACHMANINOFF: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 4 (1851 version)
Preview Talk with KUSC's Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
What’s interesting about this concert:
- Like his fellow countryman Gustavo Dudamel, José Luis Gómez spent formative years in El Sistema, where he performed the concert’s opening work by Carreño over 100 times. You’ll smell the sea air and feel the rhythms of Margarita, the captivating Caribbean island off the Venezuelan coast where the composer was born.
- The Van Cliburn medalist and Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang will show off her justly praised “dazzling fingerwork” in the daredevil variations on a theme by Paganini. It’s such a difficult work that it drove Rachmaninoff to drink: before playing the world premiere, he broke his usual rule against drinking before concerts and had a glass of crème de menthe to steady his nerves!
- Schumann’s lush Fourth Symphony takes you on a musical journey through one gorgeous melody after another, all without pause.
- Enjoy image magnification on the big screens for a closer look at the musicians!
The Friday, May 8 performance is part of the three-part series Classical KUSC at Pacific Symphony and will be hosted by a KUSC radio personality.
José Luis Gómez
The Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor José Luis Gomez was catapulted to international attention when he won First Prize at the International Sir Georg Solti Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt in September 2010, securing a sensational and rare unanimous decision from the jury.
Gomez’s electrifying energy, talent and creativity earned him immediate acclaim from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed to the position of Assistant Conductor, a post created especially for him by Paavo Jarvi and the orchestra directly upon the conclusion of the competition.
Since then he has worked with the RTVE National Symphony Orchestra of Madrid, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Houston Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, Hamburg Symphony, Weimar Staatskapelle Orchestra, Karlsruhe Staatstheatre Orchestra, Basel Sinfonietta, Orquesta Sinfonica do Porto, Castilla y Leon Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Alabama Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Macau Orchestra, Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano Orchestra.
Maestro Gomez was the principal conductor of the Orchestra 1813 Teatro Sociale di Como between 2012 and 2015 and is Musical Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism and interpretive sensitivity.
She first came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant at 19 years old, she took home two additional awards: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet), and Best Performance of a New Work. In 2006 Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut alongside Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall along with the orchestra’ tour of Asia, making a triumphant return to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Yang’s subsequent appearances with the New York Philharmonic have included opening night of the 2008 Leonard Bernstein Festival – an appearance made at the request of Maazel in his final season as music director. The New York Times pronounced her performance in Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety a “knockout.”
In the last decade, Yang has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), showcasing her colorful musical personality in solo recitals and collaborations with the world’s top orchestras and chamber musicians through more than 1,000 debuts and re-engagements. She received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy nomination (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich (“One can only sit in misty-eyed amazement at their insightful flair and spontaneity.” – The Strad). She has become a staple of the summer festival circuit with frequent appearances on the programs of the Aspen Summer Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest and the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Yang’s wide-ranging discography includes the world premiere recording of Michael Torke’s Piano Concerto, created expressly for Yang and commissioned by the Albany Symphony. Yang has also “demonstrated impressive gifts” (The New York Times) with the release of Wild Dreams (Avie Records), on which she plays Schumann, Bartók, Hindemith, Rachmaninoff, and arrangements by Earl Wild. She recorded Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra that International Record Review called “hugely enjoyable, beautifully shaped … a performance that marks her out as an enormous talent.” Of her 2011 debut album for Avie Records, Collage, featuring works by Scarlatti, Liebermann, Debussy, Currier, and Schumann, Gramophone praised her “imaginative programming” and “beautifully atmospheric playing.”
Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at the age of four. She quickly took to the instrument, which she received as a birthday present. Over the next few years won several national piano competitions in her native country. By the age of ten, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and went on to make a number of concerto and recital appearances in Seoul and Daejeon. In 1997, Yang moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of the Juilliard School with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. During her first year at Juilliard, Yangwon the pre-college division Concerto Competition, resulting in a performance of Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D with the Juilliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra. After winning the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, she performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just twelve years old. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won its 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.
Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She is a Steinway artist.