Ya-Fei Chuang

Piano

"The last movement, Finale: Presto non tanto, featured Chuang’s stunning virtuosity, her runs and trills quite breathtaking [Chopin Piano Sonata No. 3]"

John Farnworth, The Register-Guard

"Chuang handled the bristling difficulties of this piece as though they didn’t exist, all the while maintaining a smooth lyrical cantabile [Rachmaninoff Allegretto in E-flat Minor]"

Mark DeVoto, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

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Acclaimed by critics in the United States and abroad for performances of stunning virtuosity, refinement and communicative power, Ya-Fei Chuang’s playing has been named the equal of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Garrick Ohlsson, and Idil Biret (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), and Alfred Brendel has praised her as “a pianist of extraordinary ability, intelligence, sensitivity and command . . . approaching the height of her powers.” Commenting on her newly released Chopin/Liszt recording, he stated, "If you want to listen to Chopin and Liszt with different ears, Ya-Fei Chuang's ecstatic performances cannot leave you cold, and her pianism is staggering;" and Remy Franck called it "...masterful...thrilling...phenomenal" (Classical Music Journal, Luxembourg).

She has performed with orchestras in Berlin, Boston, Birmingham, Israel, Malaysia, and Tokyo; at the Berlin Philharmonie and Schauspielhaus, the Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Queen Elisabeth Hall (London), Boston Symphony Hall, the National Concert Hall (Taipei), Suntory Hall (Tokyo) and, more recently, performances in New York, San Francisco, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and at the International Grieg Piano Competition in Norway (where she also served as member of the competition jury three times), and the Grand Piano Series in Naples, Florida. She has performed at the Verbier, Shannon and Oregon Bach Festivals, the Mozartwoche (Salzburg), the Mozart Festival (Romania), Beethoven Festival (Warsaw), European Music Festival (Stuttgart), Bach Festival (Leipzig), Schleswig-Holstein, Gilmore, Nevada, Newport, Ravinia, Sarasota, Tanglewood, the Taiwan Maestro Piano Festival, and the Taipei International Music Festival. She has performed in the Celebrity Series in Boston, at the Fromm Foundation concerts at Harvard, at the Harvard Musical Association, at the International Music Sessions in Prussia Cove, England, and with the New York Philomusica. She performs frequently with the Spectrum Ensemble Berlin (Germany), and has appeared in duo performances with Alban Gerhardt, Kim Kashkashian, and is a frequent partner with Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin.

Performances on fortepiano include Boston Baroque, Handel & Haydn Society, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Baroque, and Concerto Köln.

Ya-Fei Chuang has recorded for ECM, Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, and New York Philomusica Records. Upcoming CD releases include recordings of Liszt's opera transcriptions, as well as the complete piano solo works by Ravel for Le Palais des Dégustateurs, to be released worldwide on Harmonia Mundi. The Ruhr Festival has released several of her live recordings, including a solo album distributed as a premium of Fono Forum Magazine. Reviewing her live recording of the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1, Fanfare Magazine hailed her “delicacy and fluidity of touch ... this version now sits at the top of the pile of Mendelssohn Firsts, alongside Perahia, [Rudolf] Serkin, and John Ogdon.” Her recording of Hindemith chamber works was awarded a special prize by the International Record Review.

Ya-Fei Chuang’s mastery of the most challenging solo and chamber repertoire is complemented by her commitment to contemporary music. She has given the world premieres of works by John Harbison, Stanley Walden, Thomas Oboe Lee, and Pulitzer prizewinner Yehudi Wyner.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Jordan Hall Recital

Boston (March 2015)

Through a universe of color, dynamics and articulations that were entirely her own, Chuang gave us a world of feelings, visions and memories… We were guided through a landscape of shifting emotions, light and airy, passionate and turbulent, pulsing and prayerful.

Leon Golub, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Queen Elizabeth Hall (November 2013)

Levin and Chuang brought an admirable sense of cohesion to Schubert's Fantasy in F minor, joining the disparate sections skilfully.

George Hall, The Guardian ***

All these distractions were banished in Schubert’s great F minor Fantasy for piano duet, where both pianists were seated at the same piano. In the mysterious dusky colours of the first movement’s central section, and the tender give and take of the slow movement, they were absolutely as one. Sound and sense came satisfyingly together.

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph ****

We got a fine sense of complicity between soloists and orchestra, because their respective timbres were so evenly balanced. The pair then returned to give a beautifully-calibrated account of Schubert’s majestic “Fantasy in F minor”.

Michael Church, The Independent ****

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Boston Conservatory Recital

February 2013

Rachmaninoff’s Allegretto in E-flat Minor: Chuang handled the bristling difficulties of this piece as though they didn’t exist, all the while maintaining a smooth lyrical cantabile.

Chopin’s B Minor Sonata, Op. 58: Chuang’s superb control and fine expression made it certain that we knew where we were at every moment. The Scherzo movement: Chuang moved effortlessly from this to the ineffable sadness of the slow movement in B major, and I have rarely heard such sensitive control of pianissimo as she demonstrated in this piece that almost never rises above a hushed level.

The famous Presto non tanto finale: Chuang made sure that the rhythm breathed with energy at every point, instead of racing breathlessly as though nothing else mattered, and this made the climactic moments of the last two pages all the more confident. This triumphant performance was one more testimony, to one who hardly needed convincing, that Ya-Fei Chuang carries Chopin’s banner today equally with the best of those whose names are more world-famous — I think of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Garrick Ohlsson, and Idil Biret.

Schubert’s Moment Musicaux: Chuang did all four of the pieces full justice, reminding me of Schnabel’s recording that I remembered so well from decades ago.

Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture: Seemingly impossible to play because of the challenge to the performer’s endurance but it didn’t faze Chuang in the least, and the entire audience rose in a cheer after the brilliant ending.

Mark DeVoto, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Recital – Oregon Bach Festival

2012

Chuang, who normally plays on Steinways, clearly relished the opportunity to play the [Fazioli]. Its magnificent deep, sonorous tone, especially in the lower bass, immediately became apparent under Chuang’s majestic playing.

Her recital commenced with six of the 24 preludes by French composer Claude-Achille Debussy. The composer’s impressionistic yet symbolic compositional style was drawn dramatically by Chuang’s playing, dreamily dissonant in “Ondine,” delicate but positive staccato in “La Serenade interompue,” and perhaps most demonstratively in “Ce qu’a cue le vent d’ouest” (What the west wind saw), building to a series of climaxes, very intense music and playing, strong emotional content, perhaps even some anger. All of the preludes were beautifully, deeply interpretively played.

Earl Wild’s Seven Etudes on popular Gersh¬win songs came next, showpieces of virtuosic, jazz-imbued pyrotechnics. Chuang demonstrated her utter proficiency and command of the keyboard in these short pieces, ending the seventh one, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” by banging out the final chord with her right elbow! A great crowd-pleaser.

After intermission came George Gershwin’s Three Preludes, the two outer movements filled with stunning, showy, rhythmic progressions, the inner movement a languid Andante. All were executed masterfully.

The final offering was the meat and potatoes of the recital, Frederic Chopin’s glorious Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor...her interpretation was deep and thoughtful. The short Scherzo was polished off with much brio, while the lengthy Largo was rendered with an achingly beautiful tenderness. The last movement, Finale: Presto non tanto, featured Chuang’s stunning virtuosity, her runs and trills quite breathtaking and, for the first time in the evening, a marvelously effective use of rubato.
Her finish was greeted by deafening, well-deserved applause and yells of appreciation. An encore of Wild/Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” brought the brilliant recital to a close.

John Farnworth, The Register-Guard

The unmistakable highlight of the evening was the flawless technique and expressive mastery of pianist Ya-Fei Chuang...her impeccable portrayal of Claude Debussy’s poetic musical lines are themselves a lesson in superb legato and a perfect French salon style.

Opening the program with the well known Suite bergamasque, Chuang’s Prélude and Menuet varied between luxurious legato and a sparseness that resulted in an enlivened clarity. Later, in L’Isle joyeuse, her cadenza-like trills truly transported listeners to a place as beautiful as the title implies.

Catherine Olson, The Register-Guard

Ya-Fei Chuang’s Repertoire

BACH

Concerto for 2 Pianos
Concerto for 4 Pianos

BEETHOVEN

Concerto No.1,3,4 and 5

BRAHMS

Concerto in D minor

CARTER

Concerto for Piano and Harpsichord and Two Orchestras

CHOPIN

Concerto No.1 and 2
Grand Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op.13

FRANCK

Symphonic Variations

GERSHWIN

Rhapsody in Blue

GRIEG

Concerto in A minor

HAYDN

Concerto in D Major

MENDELSSOHN

Concerto No.1 and 2
Concerto for Two Pianos in A-Flat Major

MOZART

Concerto K271, K449, K453, K466, 4488, K491
Concerto for Two Pianos

POULENC

Concerto for Two Pianos

PROKOFIEV

Concerto No. 3

RACHMANINOV

Concerto No.1, 2 and 3
Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini

RAVEL

Concerto in G Major

SAINT-SAENS

Concerto No.2

SCHUMANN

Concerto in A Minor

TCHAIKOVSKY

Concerto No.1

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