Thursday, May 22, 2014

CHESS / MUSIC / MATH // INTERFACE

INTRODUCING THE GREATEST 
CONCERT PIANIST OF ALL TIMES: 
YUJA WANG
Yuja Wang was born in Beijing February 10, 1987. 
She started playing piano at the age of 6. 
[Yuja Wang plays Chopin Waltz in 
C Sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2 at the age of 8.]
A student of the Central Consevatory of Music,
China, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada,
and the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, with Gary Graffman,
Yuja has matured into a sparkling force on the piano.
{Yuja Wang plays "Flight of the Bumble-Bee, in 2008}
Check out her performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1
played in the Helsinki Music Center with the Finnish Radio Symphony
Orchestra, Hannu Lintu, Conductor:
Yuja Wang recently visited Boston on October 18, 2013,
Jordan Hall, playing Chopin, (a total sell-out crowd) and
at Symphony Hall, on March 27-29, 2014, playing Prokofiev 
Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BSO, Sir Andrew Davis, guest conductor.
FRONT ROW, CENTER!
This intimate photo of Yuja Wang playing in an "Open Rehearsal"
Thursday, March 27, was taken by Hillary Sowa, sitting front-row, center. 
The whole family attended this concert: Mr. Sowa, Hillary and their two sons: 
Aidan and Ryan. The boys are studying piano and enjoy playing, that is
when they are not thinking about chess. These are the same two
lads who regularly attend BCC Saturday tournaments and they are
both headed towards chess mastery. I have noted that there are many
BCC junior chess stars who not only excel in chess but also pursue the
study and enjoyment of the piano and music in general. For as Philidor 
(1726-1795) illustrated so brilliantly, there is a strong interface between chess,
music and mathematics. [Note: Emanuel Lasker, World Chess Champion from 1894 to 
1921 was also a Ph.D in mathematics. Chessmetrics.com rates Emanuel's top performance 
at 2886. Older brother Berthold, who taught Emanuel chess, earned a Ph.D. and was 
Professor of Medicine, in Berlin. Also note that Dr. Berthold Lasker visited the USA in 
1902 when he won the New York State Chess Championship!] 
 Many of the parents of BCC chess juniors are
successful computer programmers and researchers in medical science. 
These occupations require a lot of mathematical talent. And the kids
of these parents demonstrate this talent as they execute combinations
and successfully navigate complex chess endgames in their quest to 
win chess games and master the Royal Game.
FROM THE BALCONY
Another perspective of Yuja Wang in action during the Open Rehearsal.
Photo: Steve Stepak. Yes! I was lucky to have been assigned the best seat
in the balcony for viewing music featuring a piano (left side). [It was Mr. Sowa
who gave me a heads-up about this event, when we met at the 2014 Boston
Chess Congress!] [Note: computer devices: "tablet" and "i-phone" sitting 
on top of the piano. Yuja Wang has all her "sheet music" and notes on her 
repertoire loaded into the tablet.  Wow! This is the 21st Century!]
Though I could not make a recording of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2,
as performed by Yuja Wang with the BSO in Boston, I provide this
youtube below, recorded at an earlier date, so the reader can get the full
impact of her genius.  Yuja Wang is indeed the Magnus Carlsen of the piano!
Now, check out this interview/chat with
Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra
and Yuja Wang. The SBSO Group made a "live" recording of Yuja giving
a concert where she played not only Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2,
considered one of the most difficult concerti ever written, but if that
were not enough to wow her audience, many of whom were kids, as we
see in the intro to this video, she performed Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2,
not only difficult but absolutely heavenly to listen to. Yuja plays with
passion and precision, a rare combination in the performing arts world.
Take a listen: 
and the complete Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2
Listening to Yuja Wang perform is like playing over games
of the former world chess champion Jose Raul Capablanca!