On Friday, August 13, 2010, Artistic Director Nolan Gasser spoke with piano phenomenon Lang Lang – whose initial recording on Sony Masterworks, Live in Vienna, was just released. In this fascinating Exclusive Interview, Lang Lang discusses his new, multi-format (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, 3-D, LP) release – recorded at Vienna’s famed Musikverein, and featuring a diverse recital of music by Beethoven, Albéniz, Prokofiev, and Chopin.
Lässig betritt er die Bühne, mit Lackschuhen, in Jeans und mit Wuschel-Frisur. Empfangen wird Lang Lang wie ein Rockstar, mit tosendem Applaus und begeistertem Gejohle. Dabei soll er eigentlich gar nicht so richtig im Mittelpunkt stehen, sondern die 1000 Finger ausgewählter Klavierschüler.
Only connect. That’s what pianist Lang Lang does — and much more. But watching the hip young man with the spiked, punk hairstyle high-five every bouquet-carrying kid who approached the Hill Auditorium stage following his spectacular performance of the 3rd Prokofiev piano concerto Wednesday evening, you see it’s charisma as much as technique that binds the audience to him.
As the world's best-known classical pianist - recognized by tens of millions in China alone - Lang Lang is capable of special merchandizing feats, such as selling out Roy Thomson Hall on a midweek evening with a student ensemble, as he did on Tuesday. But was the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, even under the baton of an established conductor like Christoph Eschenbach, a fair match for the star soloist?
We hear some pieces of music so often — on our iPods, the car radio, while shopping — that it’s easy to start mistaking them for wallpaper. So it takes a very special kind of performer to make us sit up and really take notice again.
There was a stage-full of such special performers on Tuesday night at Roy Thomson Hall, as Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach reintroduced us to the beauties of some well-worn classical masterpieces.
From there, they plunged into Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra with an intrepid feel that set the scene for a fearless showing by Lang Lang. It was not only the soloist’s virtuosity that impressed, but even more so, the astonishing ease with which he seemed to dispatch it.
No matter how vigorous or intricate his part, the notes seemed to shoot out of his fingers with fire and force. The orchestra proved a compelling partner in the wide-ranging second movement as well, creating a soft glow around its hushed portions.
Sometime around his 25th birthday, Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang crossed the threshold to being Lang Lang Inc.
Since his last Toronto concert last summer at Massey Hall with jazz great Herbie Hancock, Lang has been feted by the world’s most influential people in Davos, Switzerland, played at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, organized and performed a benefit concert for victims of the Haiti earthquake with hip hop artist Wyclef Jean at Carnegie Hall, and launched his own line of upright and baby-grand pianos for students, designed by his sponsor, Steinway & Sons.
Lang Lang is the star attraction for the first North American tour of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and the celebrated Chinese pianist drew a large crowd Monday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. After making his early reputation as a power-pounding wunderkind, Lang Lang now has embraced a wider, more sophisticated repertoire.
Long before the first note was played at Carnegie Hall on Sunday night, you could tell it was an unusual occasion. A lively, enthusiastic and uncommonly diverse audience filled the auditorium to capacity, with illicit camera flashes indicating the presence of newcomers and curiosity seekers. The event at hand was a concert meant to raise money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti; the chief attraction was the Chinese piano superstar Lang Lang.