Described as “the most gifted young pianist of her generation” with a “million-volt stage presence” pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences across the globe with her stunning virtuosity combined with heartfelt lyricism and interpretive sensitivity. At just 26 , 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.

Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The youngest contestant, she took home two additional awards: 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, Yang has blossomed into an “astonishing artist” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), and she continues to appear with orchestras around 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 distinguished conductors as Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Bramwell Tovey and Jaap van Zweden. In recital, Yang has taken the stage at New York’s Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Chicago’s Symphony Hall; and Zurich’s Tonhalle.

Her 2012-2013 season features debuts with the Toronto and Detroit Symphonies, both under Peter Oundjian; abroad, she makes her German debut with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, led by James Conlon, and travels to Australia for a concert with the Sydney Symphony. Also this season, Yang joins de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony to continue her Rachmaninoff cycle with the orchestra, this time performing the Russian master’s First Piano Concerto. In October she returns to the Buffalo Philharmonic, after impressing audiences and critics two seasons ago as a last-minute substitute with the orchestra. Yang devotes much of her new season to chamber music, presenting collaborations with the Takàcs Quartet, the Modigliani Quartet, and violinist Augustin Hadelich, along with recitals in Honolulu, Des Moines, San Antonio, Cambridge (UK debut), Melbourne, and Vancouver. The season follows a busy summer of performances at the Aspen Music Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival – where she joined members of the Emerson String Quartet for Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet, prompting the New York Times to praise Yang for her “ vivid and beautiful playing .”

Yang made her celebrated New York Philharmonic debut with Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall in November 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 performance in Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety a “knock-out.”

In November 2011, Yang released a solo album for Avie Records, Collage , featuring piano works by Scarlatti, Liebermann, Debussy, Currier, and Schumann. Gramophone praised her “imaginative programming” and “beautifully atmospheric playing.”  American Record Guide called Collage “an outstanding first recording” and a “display of her wide-ranging talent."

Born in Seoul, South Korea, 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, and over the next few years won several national piano competitions in her native country. By age ten, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts, and subsequently she made 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 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 with that orchestra when she was just twelve. She graduated from Juilliard with special honor as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, and in 2011 she won the school’s 30th Annual William A. Petschek Piano Recital Award.

Joyce Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a 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 . A Steinway artist, she currently resides in New York City.

© 21C Media Group; last edited October 26, 2012