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The keys to global success

Passionate pianist maintains a busy schedule as he thrills audiences on world tour in support of new album, Chen Nan reports.

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-15 05:50
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Pianist Lang Lang is touring worldwide, with stops in major concert halls, and performing with top symphony orchestras. [Photo provided to China Daily]

For those who attend one of Lang Lang's concerts, the pianist suggests that they fasten their seat belts. "I often get overexcited during my concerts and I want my audience to feel the same," says the 42-year-old pianist. "It's different from listening to my recordings that can't show a full picture about me. While onstage, people have an idea of who I am as a pianist, much more thoroughly and directly."

The pianist shared the viewpoint on the day before a concert in Monaco, on March 24. He embarked on a tour in February, which kicked off in Rome, and will take him to concert halls, opera houses and music festivals around the world.

"Usually, I get my tour schedules two years in advance. I am getting used to that pace," he says in an interview with China Daily. "In my 20s, I wanted to be the busiest pianist, with lots of shows and events scheduled, but now, I want to perform at the best venues and with the top symphony orchestras and musicians in the world."

In June 2023, he played with conductor Andris Nelsons and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Concertgebouw, one of the world's most renowned concert halls, in Amsterdam. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Most of the places that he is going to perform at are not new to him. "I have played at those venues — such as Carnegie Hall, New York and Musikverein Vienna — at least 50 times. I am lucky that my concerts sell out fast and the audiences show me a warm welcome," says Lang, adding that he will perform in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, for the first time this year.

The repertories he has chosen to play during the tour cover a wide range of composers, including Schumann's Kreisleriana, Op 16, an eight-movement composition for solo piano, which as Lang says is "very dramatic". He also plays Chopin's eight mazurkas, which bring Polish folk dance to life. In his recitals, Lang will perform Gabriel Faure's Pavane, Op 50, and Chopin's Polonaise in F-sharp Minor, Op 44.

Besides working with top troupes, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Philharmonie de Paris, he will perform during Carnegie Hall's opening night 2024-25 season gala with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, and perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

As one of the four curators of the Carnegie Hall's Perspectives series, he will give seven concerts in the season, "marking a new chapter in his long and illustrious history at Carnegie Hall", as the venue's website notes.

"It is an interesting project, an artistic initiative, in which I will participate for two seasons at Carnegie Hall, sharing my own musical individuality and creating a personal concert series," Lang says.

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