“A first-rate pianist who isn't afraid of challenges.”
Praised by critics for her sensitivity, intelligence, and excitement in her playing, Chinese-American pianist Clara Yang has performed in notable venues such as Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), Auditorio Nacional de Música (Madrid), the Seymour Centre (Sydney), Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater (Rochester), the Sunset Center (Carmel), Memorial Hall (Chapel Hill), Meymandi Concert Hall (Raleigh), and on major series such as Carolina Performing Arts and Dame Myra Hess in the Chicago Cultural Center. She is currently Associate Professor of Piano and Head of Keyboard Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
As a concerto soloist, she has collaborated with renowned conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Long Yu, Carl St. Clair, Josep Caballe Domenech, Grant Llewellyn, Tonu Kalam, Laura Jackson, Jeff Tyzik, and George Jackson, among others. In addition, she also frequently collaborates with living composers. She performed alongside Philip Glass in the Glass at 80 festival. She performed the world premiere of renowned composer Chen Yi’s piano concerto with the top orchestra in China, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. She also performed the US premiere of the concerto on the Carolina Performing Arts series. Dr. Yang served on the artistic panel for New Music USA.
Her solo album Folding Time (Albany Records) won a Global Music Awards Gold Medal, and it was selected as one of the Best of 2016 by American Record Guide. She has been interviewed by distinguished publications in China. Her performances were broadcast on major radio stations in the US and abroad. She studied with Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music (DMA), Claude Frank at the Yale School of Music (MM, Artist Diploma), and John Perry at USC Thornton School of Music (BM). Her principal teachers in her pre-college years include Hans Boepple, Guangren Zhou, and Huili Li.
Non-Commerical and Live Recordings
Mozart K. 503 with the George Jackson conducting the Winston Salem Symphony (©JFarley)
A great pleasure to perform alongside Philip Glass at the Glass at 80 Festival.
It was an unforgettable experience performing as a soloist with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the European Union Youth Orchestra!
Rachmaninoff Rhapsody (excerpts) Clara Yang piano, Tonu Kalam conductor, UNC Symphony
Mozart K. 503 excerpts, Clara Yang, piano, George Jackson, conductor, Winston Salem Symphony
Shostakovich Concerto No. 2 (excerpt) Clara Yang piano, Tonu Kalam conductor, UNC Symphony
“She possesses qualities that many of the others don't, particularly her way of incorporating the most difficult technical passages into the ongoing musical discourse and a long view of the music in terms of structure.”
"She revealed breath-taking technical prowess and keen interpretive insights."
- Classical Voice of North Carolina
April 24, 2022
Concert with violinist Sunmi Chang, Process Series, UNC-Chapel Hill, featuring a commissioned work by Liliya Ugay
April 10, 2021
Virtual concert with violinist Sunmi Chang, Galloway Ridge Concert Series, NC
October 17-24, 2020
Video presentation "The Changing Landscape for Piano Teachers and Performers at the North Carolina Music Teachers Association Conference.
Jury member at the NCMTA state competition.
September 20, 2020
Panel discussion and virtual performance of music by composer Phil Young at the National Civic Leadership Forum. (Keynote speakers include Democratic primaries presidential candidate Andrew Yang and many leaders in politics, literary, and business fields.
December 6, 2020
Online lecture and performance of Beethoven Op. 109 for the Irama Music Studio, Indonisia
June 20, 2021
Virtual concert with violinist Sunmi Chang, CityMusic Live, London, England
February 1, 2020
Recital with baritone Lucia Lucas, Carolina Performing Arts, Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill, NC
January 11, 2020
Chen Yi's piano concerto Four Spirits with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Josep Caballe Domenech, Chengdu, China.
October 8, 2021
Virtual masterclass, Emory University
April 23, 2022
Concert with violinist Sunmi Chang, Process Series, UNC-Chapel Hill,
featuring a commissioned work by Liliya Ugay
Dr. Clara Yang is Associate Professor of Piano and Head of Piano Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, a top ranked public university in the US. She has given masterclasses and lectures in many major conservatories and universities, such as King's College London, the Liceu Conservatory in Spain, the Musical College of the Moscow Conservatory, and the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, etc. Her students have won top awards in international, national, and state competitions. Recently her UNC students won the first prize at the MTNA Stecher Horowitz Two-Piano Competition national finals. Her students have performed in Carnegie Hall and on renowned series such as Carolina Performing Arts, and they have been accepted into top universities and conservatories for graduate studies. Below are comments from UNC students.
UNC Piano Studies on Social Media:
"After four years of teaching, I can easily say that she has been the most impactful professor of my college experience, teaching my far beyond expectation and course subject. She is able to connect with students outside of the classroom, establishing a trust with her students –necessary as learning an instrument can often be a stressful and sensitive practice . In terms of her teaching style, she is positive and honest without being overly complementary. She pushes you and has no problem telling you what you need to improve, but she does so in a way that makes you take ownership for your playing. She suggests improvements while also allowing her students to explore their own ideas about a piece, something I particularly appreciate."
"She is truly dedicated to seeing her students succeed. I gave my first recital this semester, and knowing how nervous I was, Dr. Yang dedicated extra lesson time to make sure I was ready, as well as numerous conversations about managing nerves and the purposes of sharing music. Dr. Yang is able to bring talent out of you that you didn't know you had, and creates an extremely curious and friendly environment in which to do so."
"Dr. Yang is by far one of the most influential professors I've had at UNC. Having studied with her for four years, I've felt that I have grown tremendously as a musician. Lessons are productive, mentally engaging, and simply fun. She brings insightful and effective feedback, incorporating multiple aspects from techniques for practicing technically difficult sections, relating theory and structure to style and muscality, to even abstract philosophical discussions about the value of music and the emotions it can evoke. Her teaching style is encouraging, friendly, and relatable--inspiring, yet rarely intimidating. In giving suggestions and criticism, she is always clear and never demeaning or dismissive. Dr. Yang is a fantastic teacher and has been a huge factor in my success and enjoyment studying at UNC."
"Dr. Yang is hands down the best piano teacher I have had. She is excellent at both being critical and encouraging about your work. She's a teacher you want to do well for just because you respect her so much. "
"You have been such an amazing teacher, friend, and inspiration these past two years. Words can't express how thankful I am!"
"I just want to thank you for being an amazing teacher the last few years. I would not be where I am as a pianist now without your guidance and persistence."
"This year, I auditioned for and got an MIT Emerson Music Fellowship which funded my private lessons at U. Mass. Boston. As part of the fellowship, I recently gave a solo recital featuring Bartok's Sonata BB 88, Scriabin 9, and Beethoven Op.111. I will also give a recital of Beethoven "les Adieux" for my graduate house in a couple of weeks.
I have to thank you for everything you taught me in my final semester at UNC. Focusing on producing a good sound and especially attuning my ears for it has been invaluable in adjusting to new pianos and halls. I am constantly complimented on my piano touch by the faculty here. The painstaking work on the first movement of Prokofiev 7 definitely changed my mindset in learning and practicing difficult music and made this year's ambitious program possible."