The 27-year-old Chinese piano star talks about her influences, standing in for Argerich and doing her own laundry.
It’s great to talk! Where are you, out of curiosity?
I just flew into Toronto from New York this morning. I played a Chinese New Year Concert last night in the Lincoln Center.
And did that go well?
… ah, yeah – for one run-through [laughs]
May I ask about your childhood? Your mother is a dancer. Were you ever tempted to follow her?
Well, she wanted me to be a dancer but I was too lazy to move around. [laughs] But we did have a piano at home and I guess I was just more interested.
Who first taught you piano?
Nobody really, it was just one of the hobbies that my mother tried to educate me in. There was dancing, calligraphy, painting – she’d always take me to the dance rehearsals. And I liked the listening more than the watching so I started to try to play things on the piano. It was just fun at first – nothing really professional at all until I had this teacher for seven years in China.
So who was the first pianist you really listened to?
There were three:...