Our quest to feature exceptional talent reached new heights during the 2022/23 season, as the brilliant pianist Yuja Wang took centre stage. Every season, our Music Director, Gustavo Gimeno, carefully selects guest artists who embody virtuosity and versatility to showcase. Unquestionably, Yuja Wang graced our stage as one of these remarkable talents, performing two programs and participating in ancillary TSO events. As we reflect on our Centennial’s phenomenal moments, let us celebrate Yuja Wang’s invaluable contributions to the season.
Yuja Wang + Gimeno Conducts Bruckner
In an unforgettable Masterworks program, Wang delivered a stunning performance of Magnus Lindberg’s mesmerizing Piano Concerto No. 3—its Canadian Première. The concerto was composed for her and co-commissioned by numerous esteemed orchestras including the TSO, the San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, China NCPA Orchestra, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, and the New York Philharmonic. Demonstrating her virtuosity, Wang effortlessly conquered the demanding composition and performed with joyful exuberance, sharing her captivating energy with an adoring audience. After the performance, patrons were treated to a talk with Wang and Lindberg in the Roy Thomson Hall lobby, hosted by TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha.
The evening also featured the World Première of a Celebration Prelude by Janet Sit, and a performance of Anton Bruckner’s epic Symphony No. 4 “Romantic”, which took the audience on an adventure through the gleaming and heroic world of medieval romance.
Yuja Wang’s Rachmaninoff
In the grand finale to our Masterworks Series this season, Wang fearlessly took on the monumental challenge of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a piece so difficult it’s often described as the Mount Everest of piano concertos. And the performance she gave was nothing short of extraordinary. Wang’s proficiency was on full display as she made this herculean concerto appear effortless, seamlessly blending delicate introspection with powerful drama. In his review on barczablog, Leslie Barcza said, “Nobody can really touch what she’s doing out there,” describing Wang’s ownership of the Rach 3 Clearly, the name of the concert, Yuja Wang’s Rachmaninoff, rang true.
This memorable program also featured the World Premières of compositions by the TSO’s NextGen Composers and a performance of Shostakovitch’s Symphony No. 1.
Evening Salon with Yuja Wang
On June 13, TSO donors Phil and Eli Taylor opened their home to TSO supporters, friends, and staff. Notably present were CEO Mark Williams and Music Director Gustavo Gimeno. This occasion proved to be an exceptional introduction for new guests to the TSO, while simultaneously fostering deeper connections between our current patrons and the symphony.
The highlight of this special evening was a performance by Wang, TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow, and TSO Principal Cello Joseph Johnson. The fantastic program of chamber music included Chopin’s Grande polonaise brillante, selections from Britten’s Cello Sonata, and Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 2.