Pianist Yang will open 11th season of Music Series at Akin

Award-winning pianist appearing at MSU Texas

Pianist Yang will open 11th season of Music Series at Akin

Pianist Joyce Yang was only 19 years old and the youngest contestant when she won the silver medal at the renowned Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005. She also won two additional awards that year: Best Performance of Chamber Music (with the Takàcs Quartet) and Best Performance of a New Work. Yang will open the 11th season of the Music Series at Akin at Midwestern State University at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in Akin Auditorium.

Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1986, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at age 4. In 1997 she moved to the United States to begin studies at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School. She won the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Greenfield Student Competition, then performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with that orchestra at just 12 years old.

Yang appears in the film In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Cliburn Competition. In 2006, her debut came with the New York Philharmonic alongside Lorin Maazel at Avery Fisher Hall. With the orchestra’s tour of Asia, she made a triumphant return to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea. Yang’s subsequent appearances with the New York Philharmonic have included the opening night of the 2008 Leonard Bernstein Festival – an appearance made at the request of Maazel in his final season as music director.

Yang was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017 for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

Other notable orchestral engagements have included the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, and New Zealand symphony orchestras. She was also featured in a five-year 


Joyce Yang at the piano
Pianist Joyce Yang was only 19 years old when she won the silver medal at the renowned Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005. (Photos by KT Kim)

Rachmaninoff concerto cycle with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, to which she brought “an enormous palette of colors, and tremendous emotional depth” (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal).

Yang’s program will include selections from J.S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5 in G Major; Rachmaninoff’s Ten Preludes, op. 23; Tchaikovsky’s Barcarolle in G Minor “June” from Seasons, op. 37a; and Sonata in B Minor from Franz Liszt.

The piano windtet ensemble 4.1 will be the next guest of the Music Series at Akin on March 21, 2022. The group calls themselves the “easy riders of Viennese Classic.” Ensemble 4.1 features Thomas Hoppe, piano; Jörg Schneider, oboe; Alexander Glücksmann, clarinet; Fritz Pahlmann, horn; and Christoph Knitt, bassoon.

The Akin Music Series began in 2012 and has since featured musicians such as cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Julie Albers; clarinetist Jon Manasse; pianists Inon Barnatan, Alessio Bax, Lucille Chung, Barry Douglas, Jon Nakamatsu, and Orion Weiss; and notable ensembles such as the Miro Quartet.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the MSU Department of Music in the Fain Fine Arts Center at 940-397-4267 or visiting the Fine Arts tickets web page. General admission tickets are $25 for each performance. Tickets for senior citizens and military are $23. Season tickets for the two performances are $40.