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Pianist Yuja Wang playing Prokofiev's Toccata, Op. 11 at the Steinway and Sons factory in Queens, New York. (NPR)

On A Chilly Factory Floor, Yuja Wang's Piano Sizzles

Feb 19, 2014

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Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang isn't one to do anything in half measures. So when we invited her to record a performance in a room at the Steinway & Sons piano factory, she showed up in Queens that frigid morning with her A game.

The 27-year-old ultra-glam artist wore one of her trademark dresses, significant stiletto booties and a Gucci fur stole, as well as some wrist warmers as a concession to the temperature. She played a piece that would chop shrinking violets to mulch: Prokofiev's blisteringly difficult Toccata in D minor, Op. 11.

Somehow, that combination of bling and brawn — in both the music and Wang's approach — seemed just right for the factory, where artisans labored nearby over raw materials to fashion beautiful results.

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