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Tender tone colors and thunderstorms unleashed

Peking’s youngest piano professor recently played in the orgel ART museum in Windesheim (Germany). Listeners experienced a grandiose roller coaster ride of moods. Prof. Lan Yao performed on a Bösendorfer grand.

The young artist completed her artistic training and concert exams with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Lan Yao is a regular jury member at various competitions, among them the Xinghai CupIano Competition, Haiziman Piano Competition for Young People and the China International Piano Competition.

Critics describe Yao Lan as the “best concert pianist” (Today), as well as “THE up-and-coming tal-ent of China” (China Daily).

The orgel ART museum Windesheim: a sacred-looking museum building with entirely profane sounds...

The orgel ART museum Windesheim: a sacred-looking museum building with entirely profane sounds...

"As if she wanted to break the Bösendorfer apart"

Earwitness Christine Jäckel of the Allgemeine Zeitung (7/20/2009 edition) wrote about her brilliant concert in the orgel ART museum in Windesheim in the Bad-Kreuznach district:

“She is the youngest piano professor at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music and she is defi-nitely one of the most impressive concert pianists that can be heard now. It’s therefore no wonder that all tickets were sold out for her performance at the orgel ART museum.

“Professor Thorsten Mäder also told the audience that the pianist, who has been awarded many prizes, is only 29 years old. She started playing at the age of five, and hence only one year later than Frédéric Chopin, whose works composed the evening’s program. The Polish piano virtuoso and composer left behind works that demand of their interpreter everything in terms of pianistic ability. Lan Yao revealed with the master’s 24 Preludes that her exceptional artistry is capable of more than a merely satisfactory performance of this demanding music. Her recital was a veritable roller coaster ride of moods, with the most tender tone colors and thunderstorms unleashed.

One occasionally had the impression that the delicately built pianist wanted to break apart the Bösendorfer grand in the orgel ART museum into its individual components -- so tempestuously and rakishly did Yao execute her performance. Not only the famous ‘Raindrop’ Prelude, which es-calates to a downpour, was fascinating; so were the slow tempos and the sharp contrasts of mood between poetic passages and the jet-black end of time. The pianist traced the B-flat minor So-nata’s perfect organic structure with the same concentration and sensitivity.

“It was also clearly palpable in the case of this ‘Funeral March’ Sonata that Yao does not concern herself with glittery virtuosity but with opening up Chopin’s sound world to her listeners and bringing them closer to the Polish composer’s enigmatic individuality. The Grand Polonaise in E-flat major and the Andante Spianato completed the Chopin program designed by the artist: after long applause, the audience demanded more and received two additional nuggets from Chopin’s cosmos as an encore.”

(Photo credit:; Lan Yao)