Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times and the “world’s ambassador of the keyboard,” by the New Yorker, Lang Lang is the first Chinese pianist to play to sold out crowds in every major city in the world and I understand why! I had the pleasure of hearing him perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall last weekend with my lovely great-niece, Ashley Bowman, who is the clarinet star of her very own high school orchestra, by the way, and we were both in heaven.
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 was truly one of the most moving and exciting pieces I have ever heard. Premiered in Boston by the German pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow after Nicolai Rubinstein – the composer’s first choice – contemptuously declared it unplayable, the concerto has been a mainstay of heroic pianists ever since. Lang Lang, under the direction of the fabulous conductor Gustavo Dudamel, demonstrated why he is such a distinguished artist…his performance was simply brilliant. Carl Nielsen, the composer of the second piece Symphony No. 4, which was also delightful once stated, “music is life, and, like life, inextinguishable.” How true is that! The passion of these artists, the concert itself, and the wonderful evening spent with my great-niece still resonates with me and brings a huge smile to my face.