Biography

"A prodigy, [running] the emotional gamut from brooding introspection to manic exuberance" - The Examiner

"Yang is a special musician and an extremely talented and accomplished pianist. His playing is consistenly soulful and poetic; he plays with power and polish." - Audrey Axinn, faculty at Juilliard and Mannes

"A gifted, sincere musician, and serious artist" - Ruth Slenczynska

"Inspiring, casting the audience into a spell" - Geilenkirchener Zeitung (Germany)

Deemed by The Examiner as "a prodigy, [running] the emotional gamut from brooding introspection to manic exuberance”, young American pianist, Andrew J. Yang, has recently embarked on an active performance career across the United States, Europe, and Canada. Born and raised in California, Yang’s unbounded energy and disdain for sleep led his parents to enroll him in many sports and extracurricular activities, including piano lessons at the age of five with Sumi Nagasawa. After taking a break from piano, Yang rediscovered a passion for music at the age of 13 as he began studying at the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Division with his most important musical influence and mentor to date, William Wellborn. Currently based in Los Angeles, Yang is also half of the Vala-Yáng Duo, formed with his girlfriend, Icelandic pianist Erna Vala. In 2018, they were each awarded a "White Rose" Medal of Honor from President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö and the Icelandic-Finnish Cultural Grant. In Fall 2019, Yang began studies with artist faculty Antoinette Perry at the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music, pursuing a D.M.A. doctorate degree on full tuition scholarship and stipend. 

In July 2019, Yang was awarded the top prize (second prize ex-aequo, no first prize awarded) at the 30th International FLAME Piano Competition in Paris, France. Recent engagements have included performances at venues such as Victor Borge Hall, Carnegie Hall, Museum of Modern Art, Doctorow Center for the Arts, Steinway Hall, Murphy Recital Hall (as a visiting guest artist at Loyola Marymount University), Bosendorfer Hall at the Mozarthaus (Austria), Auditorium Marcel Landowski (Paris), Krakow Jewish Cultural Center (Poland), and concert halls in Llanes and Ribadesella (Spain). Yang was a finalist in the 2018 Serge & Olga Koussevitzky Piano Competition in New York City and has also been awarded prizes at the VI Euregio Piano Award International Competition in Germany, 2019 Five Towns Piano Competition, Metropolitan International Piano Competition, International Heida Hermanns Piano Competition, Thaviu-Issac Piano Competition, Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, Evanston Music Club Competition, San Francisco Chopin Competition, and the Menuhin/Dowling Musicians Competition. He was also a semifinalist at the International Crescendo Piano Competition (Tulsa, OK) and International Kosciuszko Chopin Competition and competed in the 2014 Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition. Yang’s performances have been heard over radio broadcast on WUSF 89.7 and WIOX 93.1, and television broadcast on N1 Neiderosterreich (Austria). 

Lauded as "inspiring, drawing the audience into a spell" by Geilenkirchener Zeitung (Germany) and regarded by Meinbezirk Newspaper (Austria) as "a young American pianist of special class" and, Yang continues to receive international acclaim for his ability to create profound connection with audiences through his deeply emotional and philosophical approach to music. Julian Dawson, Former Associate Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera said of Yang: "He has a remarkable talent, his innate musical understanding combined with a fine technical facility gives him an ability to grasp the essence of each piece." Audrey Axinn, artist faculty at Mannes and Juilliard, remarks: “[Yang is] a special musician [and] an extremely talented and accomplished pianist. His playing is consistently soulful and poetic; he plays with power and polish”.

Upon graduation with a M.M. in Piano Performance from Mannes School of Music, he received the 2017 Steinway & Sons Award, the top distinction given to an outstanding pianist, which came with a monetary award sponsored by Steinway. Yang previously received a B.A. in Economics and a B.M. in Piano Performance from Northwestern University. His teachers and mentors include William Wellborn, James Giles, Pavlina Dokovska, Ruth Slenczynska, Dang Thai Son, Audrey Axinn, Robert McDonald, and Julian Dawson. He has also received numerous scholarships to perform and study at some of the most prestigious summer festivals, including the Austrian International Piano Festival and Seminar, Krakow Piano Summer (Poland), Academy of Fortepiano Performance (Hunter, NY), Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival (Flordia), Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), Centre d’Arts Orford (Canada), and Banff Centre (Canada).

Specializing in the music of Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff, Yang has developed friendships with two of the most luminary and important composers of today: Myung Hwang Park, currently studying at Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and South African Braam van Eeden, a student of Lowell Liebermann. Park’s Grandioso for solo piano (2017) and van Eeden’s Ten Miniatures (2016) were dedicated to Yang. In 2015, Yang gave the world premiere of solo piano works by Stephen Kleiman at Ruggles Hall (Chicago), commissioned by the Newberry Library.

Yang is appreciative of the integrity and kindness of his parents and their support over the years. A formerly competitive athlete, Yang pursued an amateur boxing career, training out of the legendary John's Boxing Gym in the Bronx, NY, with "Shabazz" Lorenzo Sidberry, who has coached IBF World Champions Joshua Clottey and Joseph Agbeko. Yang previously trained M.M.A./Muay Thai with Kru Nestor Marte, who has coached multiple UFC fighters and champions including Anderson Silva and Ulka Sasaki; he was also on the Northwestern Boxing Team (2010-2012), and his high school basketball and badminton teams as an all-county athlete. In addition, Yang is a classically-trained violinist and an amateur singer, guitarist, and producer. He played violin in Peninsula Youth Orchestra for many years and sang in the Northwestern University Chapel Choir, which highlights included performing with Eric Whitacre in Chicago. Yang is an avid pedagogue and finds fulfillment and inspiration from the brilliant students in his piano studio. He was also the Coordinator of the inaugural 2019 Sfzp International Fortepiano Project and Competition in New York City, working directly with American Classical Orchestra director and conductor, Tom Crawford. The competition – whose aim is to bring fortepiano practice to the forefront of the classical music world - offers substantial cash prizes and major performance opportunities, namely a concerto appearance at Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center).