Yuja Wang is a classical pianist, born in Beijing in 1987, she was encouraged to play music at a young age by her dancer mother and percussionist father. At 15 she won the Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition, and began performing professionally to critical acclaim while still a student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Her mother instilled in her the importance of time, which is why, when she had the chance, there was only one gift to give her in return.
I started very young, I was six years old and, half a year later, I had already performed on stage – It’s very addictive, the more you practice and explore different things, the more you find – It’s an endless learning process, of exploration and discovery.
Music is what makes my life meaningful, it’s almost like a parameter of how I measure my life, by the creative thoughts that I have every day. As a soloist, it’s a solitary career – which is why I always bring my watch. I remember the first time when I was chosen to be the soloist at the Lucerne Festival, my watch was with me. And when I was an artist resident in my hometown, Beijing, at the NCPA [National Centre for the Performing Arts], Rolex was also there – all the landmarks in my career.
I still remember very clearly when I opened the box, I was 21, during the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and this elegant deep blue watch was looking at me. It’s not just the watch but what it signifies: the beauty, the elegance, the passion, precision, perfection – it’s similar to what I’m striving for in classical music. Just like life, it keeps going. Time is always running and it reminds me of how precious time is.
It’s not just the watch but what it signifies: the beauty, the elegance, the passion, precision, perfection – it’s similar to what I’m striving for in classical music.
When I was young, my mom always said the most important thing, the most precious thing in life is time, because once it goes by, it never comes back. And it’s not about being productive but it’s about treasuring the moments; I think that’s why I gave her a watch.
Music uplifts people and I think Rolex is there to also give me a goal to look forward to, it’s almost like a motivation for me to always strive for the best. There’s always a higher aim in life, in what I do, in the arts and in what we can achieve.