A musician's masterful touch

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-26 12:07
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Yang gives a recital at the Beijing Concert Hall in November. [Photo by Zhang Xuejun/China Daily]

"I can better understand what composers are trying to express, and why they wrote works in a specific order. Only if I have a better understanding of the composers can I present to the audience their original intention," Yang says.

"Yang conquered the audience by playing seven sonatas in a row," composer Zhang Zhao remarked after attending the recital.

"Tonight, he stood alone onstage, yet he was able to provide us with an entire world. The auditorium was packed with audience members, yet everybody was holding their breath to hear his performance, as if only one person was there."

In his musical journey, Yang has gone from being a young emerging soloist to working in an orchestra, then returning to a solo career with a more versatile skill set.

He was born in 1986 in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, to a family of musicians, his mother a violinist and teacher, his father a flutist.

Under his parents' influences, he started learning piano at the age of 4 and violin the next year. At 11, he entered the middle school affiliated to the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and learned from renowned teachers such as Lin Yaoji, violin educator and professor from the conservatory.

"Because of my parents, I was able to listen to different types of music extensively, not only violin pieces. I was exposed to piano and orchestral music early on in life. These helped me develop a rounded understanding of music and set a solid foundation for my musical development," Yang says.

He started performing solo or with orchestras in his teenage years, while ranking high in international competitions, including winning the first prize of the violin section at the 2002 International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians.

From 2010 to 2018, Yang served as the concertmaster of the China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra.

"This incredible eight years has allowed me to enrich my knowledge and experience, including working with internationally renowned conductors, singers and soloists. I got to discover the charms of other music genres, expand my vision, and refine my perceptions and pursuits in music," he says.

Once again setting out on his solo journey, Yang says that he now has more time to hone his violin skills, while learning new ways of artistic expression such as conducting.

He has so far taken up the baton with orchestras including Baotou Art Theater Symphony Orchestra from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and the Harbin Symphony Orchestra.

"When a musician reaches a certain level, they need more vehicles to express themselves, which requires them to learn more skills and to explore different possibilities," he says.

In the meantime, he will continue to hone his craft as a violinist, with a national tour beginning on Dec 1 in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province.

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