The American Project

Yuja Wang

The American Project
10 March 2023

The American Project

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang gives a dazzling solo performance in the world premiere recording of a major new work specially written for her by her friend Teddy Abrams. Although originally conceived as a short companion composition to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Abrams’ Piano Concerto blossomed to become a 35-minute standalone showpiece. Celebrating the richness of America’s musical culture and the sheer depth and breadth of Yuja Wang’s virtuosity, the work now features on Yuja Wang · The American Project.

Also included on the album is You Come Here Often?, created for the star pianist by another close friend, Michael Tilson Thomas. Both were recorded live with the Louisville Orchestra, conducted by Abrams, its Music Director.

Abrams received his first conducting lessons from Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco at the age of eleven. The conductor, himself a fine pianist and distinguished composer, became his long-term mentor and friend. Tilson Thomas also encouraged Yuja Wang at the start of her career. He enlarged her stock of encores in 2016 with You Come Here Often?, which serves as the opening track of her new album.


Yuja Wang is a well-known name for any classical music enthusiast. A child prodigy, she started her studies at Beijing’s Conservatory of Music at the ripe old age of seven and took the world by storm, winning competitions and giving prestigious concerts that appealed to people of all ages around the world. In this latest offering, she is spreading her impressive musical wings across a number of genres and performing the latest piano concerto from composer Teddy Abrams. Abrams was born the same year as Wang, but in America, and raised in San Francisco. Currently the musical director of the Louisville Orchestra, he works with various organisations to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and bring the power of music to everyone.

In this 11-movement work, he allows Wang to flex her impressive musical skills with jazz riffs, cadenzas, and seamless ensemble work with the orchestra – all presented on this live recording. Listening to this brought a smile to my face more than once, with pure joy oozing from the melodic lines. As it says in the liner notes, this work was written to be a celebration of ‘the richness of America’s musical culture and the sheer depth and breadth of Yuja Wang’s virtuosity’ and it definitely ticks those boxes. Grab it and enjoy yourself.

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