Clara Yang, piano
Praised by Fanfare as “a first-rate pianist who isn’t afraid of challenges,” Chinese-American Pianist Clara Yang has performed in notable venues such as Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall (New York), Auditorio Nacional de Musica (Madrid), the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), Remonstrantse Kerk (The Netherlands), the Seymour Centre (Sydney, Australia), the Barclay Theater (Irvine, California), Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater (Rochester, New York), the Sunset Center (Carmel, California), Memorial Hall (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), Meymandi Concert Hall (Raleigh, North Carolina), and in series such as Carolina Performing Arts, Dame Myra Hess (Chicago Cultural Center), and Museu d’Història de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain). She is currently Associate Professor of Music and Head of Keyboard Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Besides performing the traditional repertoire, Dr. Yang is also an avid contemporary and new music interpreter. The distinguished composer Chen Yi composed the piano concerto Four Spirits for her in 2016. Dr. Yang performed the U.S. premiere of the concerto with the distinguished conductor Maestro Long Yu (余隆) leading the China Philharmonic Orchestra (中国爱乐乐团) in the Carolina Performing Arts series in December 2016. She performed the world premiere of this work with Maestro Huang Yi conducting the China Philharmonic in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. In addition, she performed Phillip Glass’s etudes along with the composer himself, Timo Andres, and other renowned artists in the Glass at 80 festival in 2017. She recorded Lee Weisert’s Érard, which was written for her, for Weisert’s album Wild Arc on the New Focus label. Dr. Yang served on the Artist Panel for New Music USA in 2015.
Concert highlights as a concerto soloist include performances with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, the China Philharmonic Orchestra under Long Yu and Huang Yi, the Eastman Philharmonia under Jeff Tyzik, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra under Carl St. Clair, numerous appearances with the North Carolina Symphony under Grant Llewellyn, the Charlottesville Symphony with Laura Jackson, and the Longview Symphony under Tonu Kalam. Most recently, she performed with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Spanish conductor Josep Caballe Domenech, and she also performed with the top Symphonic Band in Spain, Banda Sinfonica Municipal de Madrid.
Her solo album Folding Time (Albany Records) was supported by New Music USA, Carolina Performing Arts, and the UNC Publication and research grants. She worked with Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Matthew Snyder and recorded in Memorial Hall, NC. This album won a Global Music Awards Gold Medal and received rave reviews from Fanfare, New York Arts, and American Record Guide. Her cello-piano duo album Grieg and Prokofiev (Albany Records) with Los Angeles Opera cellist Helen Zheng Altenbach was released in 2014. It has been aired on Montana Public Radio KUFM 89.1 FM, Women in Music CKWR FM 98.5 (Canada), and WCPE 89.7 FM (North Carolina) with a featured interview. Her live solo recitals and performances were broadcast on ABC Classic FM in Australia and New Zealand, 98.7 WFMT, and on Wayne Picciano’s “Grand Piano” series, which was broadcast on television in multiple states across the country.
As a guest artist, Dr. Yang has given solo recitals in numerous major conservatories and universities internationally, including the Musical College of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia, King’s College London, the Liceu Conservatory, the Cervera Conservatory, and the Manresa Conservatory in Spain, the Beijing Central Conservatory, the Shanghai Conservatory, and the Central Conservatory Piano Academy in Xiamen, China. She has performed in renowned music festivals such as the Music Academy of the West, the Sarasota Music Festival, the International Holland Music Sessions, and the Aspen Music Festival. An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with artists such as members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
A sought-after teacher, Dr. Yang has frequently given masterclasses in the United States and abroad in major universities and conservatories such as the Liceu Conservatory in Spain, King’s College London, and Duke University in North Carolina. Her students have won top prizes in state, national, and international competitions. She was featured as one of the three scholars in the acclaimed Chinese national magazine Globe in 2014. Dr. Yang received her D.M.A. in piano performance at the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student of Nelita True. She studied with Claude Frank at the Yale School of Music (M.M., Artist Diploma) and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California as a student of John Perry.