Acclaims

Yu’s treatment of these works reveals sensitivity and conviction, musicality rather than merely raw virtuosity. His Naxos debut of these Schubert transcriptions respects the original melodies with astounding attention to Liszt’s details. An enjoyable recording.

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Sang Woo Kang, American Record Guide

Avan Yu, Gewinner des Klavierwettbewerbs in Sydney 2012, stellt sich mit 18 Schubert-Liedern in Liszt-Transkriptionen vor. Eine hervorragende Technik, weite Dynamik, Klarheit in der Stimmführung, ein deutlich konturierter Klang, fließende Tempi und die nötige Ausdruckskraft verbinden sich mit Yus Fähigkeit, auf den Tasten zu singen. [...] zeigt sich der 1987 in Hong Kong geborene, in Kanada lebende Pianist als würdiger Preisträger.

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Fono Forum

gorgeous songlike quality and colourful intensity... Very highly recommended. Five out of five stars. 

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Frank Shostakovich, Fine Music Magazine

There is much delightful playing here, not least a heartfelt ‘Ständchen’ and a notably jaunty ‘Abschied’, which makes one want to hear more of this promising young artist.

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Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

Hut ab! und ein lautes Bravo!

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ouverture - Das Klassik-Blog

Liszt’s lavish filigree may sound a little overloaded by purist standards, yet he always treats the melodies with respect and intelligent registral deployment. Many young virtuosos plow through these transcriptions with little indication that they know the original songs. Avan Yu, however, brilliantly reconciles Schubert’s melodic trajectory with Liszt’s intricate textures.

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Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

Yu has returned to play in Australia several times since his win in 2012 – always to critical acclaim – while acknowledging his growing maturity through expanded repertoire and deeper understanding of the music he’s playing.

Although a stunning performer at the keyboard, Avan Yu is busy away from it too. He spends time talking to young people about music, often at schools; he’s as comfortable behind a microphone as he is looking down on the eighty-eight keys of a grand piano.

He combined both skills at a recital he gave for the Willoughby based Theme & Variations Foundation on Sunday 17 May, where a select audience of the foundation’s supporters were treated to a thoughtful commentary along with spectacular piano playing...

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Fraser Beath McEwing, J-Wire

APPEARING in Adelaide for the third time, and before a third full house, affable Canadian pianist Avan Yu introduced each of the works in a well devised program, all played from memory, with a wisdom and insight that belies his 26 years.

Mind you, that was Mozart’s age when he composed the Sonata No. 13 in B Flat Major K.333, ditto Scriabin’s Sonata-Fantasy in g sharp minor Op.19 and the pieces that make up Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage. All of these were given quite outstanding performances.

Yu invested the Mozart with all the delicacy it deserves, and the drive that the last movement demands.

The Scriabin could hardly be more different, stylistically, being an intense meditation on the sea, from a calm, moonlit evening to turbulent storms. Yu conjured up the atmospherics in a most commanding and believable way. Also highly elemental was the Liszt Sonetto del Petrarca 123, a fabulously descriptive piece, with glorious depictions of the “beauties of the skies”, “brute Nature’s sympathies” and “wildest gales” of the poem that inspired it.

The concluding account of Ravel’s La Valse was breathtaking not only for its virtuosity but for its profundity. The changes of mood from flighty waltz to wry cliché to danse macabre were achieved with cumulative impact, to the extent that the Elder Hall audience – not the least-informed in this or any other town – leapt to their feet at its end.

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Peter Burdon, AdelaideNow.com.au

Born in Hong Kong, and spending his formative years in Canada, Avan Yu was the 2012 winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, leading to this release. He has, more recently, appeared as the soloist with major orchestras from four different continents and in locations as diverse as Germany, China, Australia and the United States. For his first commercial recording he has selected Franz Liszt’s piano transcriptions of Schubert’s lieder. No other composer had such an insatiable appetite for transcribing the music of others, accommodating works for large ensembles in the confines of the keyboard, so that they could enjoy a more widespread performance. [Yu] has such an innate feeling for Schubert both in the pace and shading of each ‘song’, and for a perfect example of those qualities turn to track 15—Fruhlingssehnsucht from Schwanengesang—though it will be the sadness and intensity he brings to the final track—Kreigers Ahung—that will remain in the memory. Technically he is impeccable throughout, and he is obviously a young man with a big future.

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David Denton, David's Review Corner

Es macht Freude, dem Entstehen der Musik zuzusehen, dem Spiel der feingliedrigen Hände, aber ebenso gern schließt man die Augen, überlässt sich ganz der Magie der Musik, der dynamischen Kraft wie der höchsten Sensibilität und der fiebrigen Rasanz am Ende der Sonate.

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die Schwaebische Zeitung

The APO could not have found a finer pianist than Avan Yu for Ravel's Concerto for the left hand, written a decade after World War I had ended.

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William Dart, New Zealand Herald
Nach der Pause stellte Avan Yu Werke von Chopin und Liszt vor. Das Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise op. 22 hatte Chopin während seiner Pariser Zeit geschrieben. Er gab darin seinem Heimweh nach seiner Familie und dem polnischen Heimatland Ausdruck. Mit tänzerisch-verspielten Melodien und grandiosen Läufen, die ihren Ursprung in polnischer Volksmusik hatten, forderte das Stück das technische Können und die Expressivität des Pianisten heraus. Sein Lohn für das wunderbare Spiel war das rhythmische Klatschen des Publikums... Read More...
Katrin Demczenko, Lausitzer Rundschau
It was the quintessence of stillness and calm which reminded me of the playing of Moiseiwitsch - and praise doesn't get much higher than that. Read More...
Neville Cohn, West Australian
Sensationell war Antonin Dvoraks Klavierquintett op.81, das sich, von Avan Yu am Fluegel immer wieder befeuert... Read More...
Thomas Ahnert, Saale Zeitung
Mit seinem umwerfenden und punktgenauen Spiel trug der chinesische Pianist Avan Yu massgeblich dazu bei, dass das Dvorak-Quintett mit Verve erklang. Read More...
Frank Kupke, Main Post
Rhythmischer Beifall, wie schon zuvor für den Pianisten, galt einem beeindruckenden Konzertereignis. Read More...
Sylvia Ottenberg, Saechsische Zeitung
El joven pianista canadiense Avan Yu triunfó en su concierto de ayer del ciclo de la Sociedad Filarmónica de Oviedo Read More...
La Nueva Espana

Brilliant is... the byword for the performance of young Avan Yu...

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David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun
...he is widely regarded as such a phenomenon. Read More...
John Jane, Review Vancouver
His playing was vigorous, precise and entirely musical. Read More...
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen
VSO faithful seemed to savour every sound of impeccable playing and memory work by the Canadian ivory upstart who sure earned his two standing ovations. Read More...
Peter Rusland, Victoria News
Yu appeared on stage with the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the two played a wonderful account of Chopin's Introduction and Polonaise brillante. Read More...
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen
Er hatte schon gezeigt, dass er mit wunderbar austarierter Klangsensibilitaet zu ueberzeugen vermochte, dass er mit viel Emotion das Publikum zu fesseln verstand.
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Carsten Duerer, Piano News
a crackerjack performance... Read More...
Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail
Featured soloist in the much-loved Rachmaninov set of 24 variations, Avan Yu is a pianistic force and contains an astonishing sensitivity far beyond his 21 years of age. Read More...
Claude Gingras, La Presse
At 21, Yu is a marvelous pianist...the performance [was] the best this listener has heard for many years.
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Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen
In the world of piano performance, the Canadian Avan Yu is at present one of the most outstanding young promises. Read More...
Eduardo G. Salueña, La Nueva España Gijón
His recital was absolutely amazing not for his flawless degree of technical perfection but for the intense and deep musicality exhibited throughout the programme.
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Julio García Casas, Julio García Casas
En todo caso, y además de certificarse que este joven es un pianista de muy altos vuelos, una cosa quedó clara: que el manido tópico de que los pianistas orientales son excesivamente calculadores y poco cálidos, no casa en absoluto con Avan Yu, artista sensible de los pies a la cabeza. Read More...
Juan Miguel Moreno Calderon, Diario Cordoba
Avan Yu is only 21 years old and plays with astonishing maturity. His pianistic abilities are limitless, his touch is under the control of a sensitive ear and a keen harmonic sense, and at any moment his musical choices reveal his intelligence and his care for musical concept . Read More...
Evelyne Crochet
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