Yuanfan Yang, Rising Star

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Born in Edinburgh, Yuanfan began learning the piano when he was 6, passed Grade 8 with Distinction at the age of 8 and achieved a Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (DipABRSM) when he was 10. He was awarded the AMusTCL Diploma in Music Theory with Distinction in 2015, and he is a Scholar of the Drake Calleja Trust. Yuanfan studied piano at Chetham’s School of Music from 2008-2015 with Dr Murray McLachlan, and is now studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Professor Christopher Elton.

Yuanfan has won numerous competitions including 1st Prize at the Cleveland International Young Artists Piano Competition in the USA in 2015, and 1st Prize of the 4th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Weimar, Germany in 2014, with which he was awarded the Special Prize for Best Interpretation of a Classical Sonata, the Special Prize for Best Interpretation of Works by Liszt, the Special Prize for Best Composition and Improvisation, the Junior Jury Prize, and the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY) Prize for Most Outstanding Contestant. In 2013 he won the 3rd Prize in the Minnesota International E-Piano Competition. He has also won the first prizes in the Keyboard Category of BBC Young Musician 2012, the 2010 RNCM James Mottram International Piano Competition (under 19), the 2009 Manchester International Piano Concerto Competition for Young Pianists (age 16 and under), and both category and overall prizes at the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) UK Piano Competition 2010. Yuanfan is also a fluent sight-reader, having been the champion of the ongoing Michael Abraham Sight-Reading Award six years in a row, ever since he joined Chetham’s. Most recently he won the UK Liszt Society International Piano Prize 2015, the Royal Academy of Music’s Sterndale Bennett Prize 2015 and the 9th Grand Prix Interlaken Classics International Piano Competition 2016.

Yuanfan has performed at many major venues in the UK, including the Wigmore Hall in London, the Cadogan Hall in London, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the Leeds Town Hall, the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the Liverpool Floral Pavilion Theatre, the Manchester Bridgewater Hall, the Sage Gateshead in Newcastle, and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. He has performed for many eminent music societies, festivals and key events throughout Britain, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, France and the US, and has performed concertos by Beethoven, Chopin, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky with many eminent conductors and leading orchestras including the Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Romanian Radio National Symphony Orchestra, the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra in Cleveland, the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, the Leeds Sinfonia, and the Manchester Camerata. He has been broadcast on television and radio including BBC 2, BBC 4, BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, WCLV Classical Radio, American Public Media, BR Klassik Radio and Romanian National Radio,

September to October 2014 saw Yuanfan undertaking an extensive solo eight-night tour of Scotland, which was universally acclaimed by the press and audiences. November 2014 saw Yuanfan taking a tour of China, which included solo recitals at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Wuhan University, as well as a concerto appearance with the Wuhan Philharmonic at the Qintai Concert Hall.

Yuanfan is also a versatile composer and an accomplished improviser. His ‘Fantasy in G’ for piano was broadcast on BBC Two in 2007 and 2008, and his arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’ was shown on BBC Four in 2010. His piano composition ‘Waves’ won the Overall Award in the European Piano Teachers Association UK Composition Competition 2011. This piece also won Highly-Commended in the BBC Proms Young Composers Competition 2011. His ‘Haunted Bell’ won first prize in the Junior Group of the Golden Key International Piano Composition Competition in 2012, and it was broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio Three. He was a finalist in the National Centre for Early Music Composers’ Award 2013, where his piece ‘Crushed Suites’ was premiered and recorded by the leading early music ensemble Florilegium. In September 2014, Yuanfan’s new Piano Concerto – ‘The Wilderness’, scored for solo piano and full symphony orchestra, was premiered in Qianjiang, China; the concerto was performed again at Wuhan University as part of his China tour in November 2014, and it had its UK premiere with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra in June 2015 – all the performances were enthusiastically received with critical acclaim from the press and audience.

Yuanfan has attracted wide media attention since he was eight. Hailed as ‘a giant of the keyboard’ (John Amis, Music Opinion), he has impressed audiences and critics by performing with ‘the assurance and feeling that would have been the envy of many high ranking soloists twice his age’ (Peter Harrison, Yorkshire Times), as well as possessing an ability to ‘make the piano sound more than human’ (Milos Karadaglic on Yuanfan’s performance in the BBC Young Musician 2012 Grand Final). In November 2015, William Ruff, of The Nottingham Post, wrote ‘Then came one of the most astonishing performances in the NYO's 30-year history…The first movement cadenza had startling power - but it was its silences which really caught the breath and suggested that Yuanfan is a master musician in the making’.


 

Program

Greg Steinke:

Toccata Fantasie

Bela Bartok:

Mikrokosmos (selections)

Maurice Ravel:

Miroirs (selections)

Yuanfan Yang:

Waves

The Haunted Bell

Franz Liszt:

Fantasie and Fugue on B-A-C-H