The Greater Bridgeport Symphony (GBS) has a real holiday treat for those coming out to its latest concert of the season on Dec. 8 at The Klein — world renowned piano sensation Yuja Wang will be a special guest performer for the evening.
Music lovers know the Beijing-born virtuoso is considered one of the finest piano players of the 21st Century, thanks to a “fashion-forward” style and a series of unique performances she’s done throughout the world that have gone viral on social media.
“She’s one of a kind,” said GBS conductor Eric Jacobsen. “Yuja is a friend and we’ve been talking about possibly doing something together and the time worked out, and so this seemed like an ideal situation.”
At just 31, the Chinese classical pianist has accomplished a great deal across the globe, performing and recording with some of the world’s most acclaimed conductors and orchestras.
“Very often, musicians just get paired together — a conductor, a soloist and an orchestra, and none of them know each other and all come together and do a concert, but in this case, I know the Bridgeport Symphony very well and know Yuja well, and hopefully, there is a transitive postulate between the two and we are able to make music on a deep level very quickly,” Jacobsen said.
In the concert, entitled All of You on the Good Earth, Wang will perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, a love story the famed composer wrote for his wife Clara. The score is described as a struggle between enthusiasm and dreaminess, yearning and contentment, loyalty and freedom, maintaining a character of fantasy, leading to an exuberant finale.
“The Schumann Piano Concerto is one of the most glorious, warm, inviting, joyous pieces,” Jacobsen said. “In talking with her, she finds it both a beautiful composition both for orchestra and piano. It really is a chamber music piece in a lot of ways.”
The night’s program also includes Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Grieg’s In Holberg’s Time, and a selection of holiday favorites to warm the heart, such as Bizet’s Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite #2, Silent Night and other surprises Jacobsen said “people will recognize.”
“The first half we will have this incredibly beautiful Scandinavian chamber piece for strings that is so glorious and we will mix in with it some of these holiday pieces,” he said. “In the second half, we’re just so lucky to have one of the greatest virtuosos in the world to come play with us.”
For its 73rd season, the GBS has adopted a theme of “A Season in Flight,” with music and compositions that celebrate flight on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Debussy’s Clair de Lune (meaning moonlight) was chosen for the concert to pay tribute to Apollo 8’s circling of the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968.
“It was originally written for piano and arranged for orchestra and that’s an ode to the moon,” Jacobsen said. “Our whole season has revolved around the planets or the moon or the cosmos in general.”
The conductor felt that the moon landing was such an important moment in time that it seemed only fitting to honor it in this way.
“More and more we find we are disparate humans all in our own world and it’s hard to come together but for this moment in time — and maybe it was only about 10 minutes long — when we landed on the moon 50 years ago, all of humanity knew and were thinking about the same thing,” Jacobsen said. “This showed that people could come together regardless of background or culture. This was so incredibly powerful and is a metaphor for human transcendence in some type of positive and special moment in time.”
For more information, visit GBS.org.