Home Discover Luxembourg Yuja Wang and Yann Tiersen

Yuja Wang and Yann Tiersen

by A. Esposito
Yuja Wang

We all have our little hobbies, here is mine: every year, I write an article for City Savvy Luxembourg; as usual they asked me to write about music or theatre, but I like to develop a topic and so I will start talking about weather.

And by weather I mean the dark, gloomy rainy days we’ve had at the beginning of February. The days that make you wonder why Jack the Ripper was born in Victorian London instead of modern day Limpertsberg. I must confess: having spent most of my childhood and young age in a house with Mediterranean sea views (perks of being a contemporary migrant), I tend to struggle when the thermometer goes below 5 degrees Celsius, let alone when it hits the negatives.

And yet, this year I found some type of therapy in the Philharmonie: no innovative discovery here, their program tends to be great every season, but lately it is probably hitting some new standards of awesomeness.

I went to two of their shows this month. I will just let the names of the artists involved in the acts speak for themselves: Yuja Wang and Yann Tiersen.

Here is where I make the connection with the weather: both concerts have literally brought new light to Luxembourg, warmed the audience’s heart and given new perspectives on the artists involved.

Yuja Wang: one of the best pianist in the world. For those who are familiar to other aspects of her persona, a lady that certainly does not go unnoticed; and yet, even the most fervent devotees might not know everything about her. At least some of us didn’t until her Luxembourg stage debut with “The Clone”” which was a music extravaganza the Chinese artist composed together with her stage companions Igudesman & Joo.

Using the idea of Yuja’s clone taking over one of her usual performances, the show turns into cabaret and gives the pianist the ability to confront herself with other aspects of her artistry, including singing, acting and playing a repertoire that covers Rachmaninov as well as Gloria Gaynor. 

The show was genuinely funny. Igudesman & Joo are two artists probably less well known but certainly remarkable. Both are dynamic performers covering acting, singing and respectively playing violin and piano. The result is that Yuja Wang is not just technically perfect, but also hilarious, and the audience has rightfully given the trio a standing ovation at the end of the performance.

And that’s just the beginning, Yuja Wang is one of the Philharmonie’s resident artists this year and more of her shows will come!

Yann Tiersen: I have been a fan of this sacred monster for years, I have listened to most of his albums but I went to this concert expecting, like most other spectators, some Amelie-related gig; I was wrong.

Tiersen is not exactly a reclusive artist, but he likes the sounds and the atmosphere of islands and remote territories: born in Brittany, he has a house on the island of Ushant and one of his most recent albums (“Infinity”) was recorded between Iceland and Faroe.

And that was the exact theme of his show: silence that becomes music, or music that helps us reconciling with the quiet we forget about way too often. It is a therapeutic experience that saw Tiersen as the master performer of a group of four musicians (and some birds, whose voices were recorded and played along with the music); passionate violinist, master pianist, expert player of keyboard and accordion, Tiersen has composed some poetic music that has mesmerised the audience for two hours, offering new ways to look at his art.

The good news is that Philharmonie therapy has further treatments to offer in the coming week: A few worth mentioning, (on the exclusive base of my personal taste), the London Symphony Orchestra, Brad Mehldau, Julian Lage, Jan Garbarek… while I wait for spring to come, my heart certainly feels warmer now.

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