Lang Lang’s BSO Debut Draws Sellout Crowd

By David Li and Beatrice Lee, translated by Na Ma,

Boston, March 8, 2013, — On the evening of March 1, we were invited to the Akiko Shirake Dynner Memorial Concert at Boston Symphony Hall. Guest pianist Lang Lang made his Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) debut by performing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with BSO. This was one of Lang Lang debut performances on February 28, March 1 and March 2, each night with many of his fans in the sellout crowd.

A regular guest with North America’s top orchestras, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducts the New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Toronto Symphony Orchestras in the 2012-13 season. He appears annually at the Tanglewood Music Festival and regularly with the Chicago, National, and Philadelphia symphonies.

Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times, 30-year-old Lang Lang has played sold out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and all the top American orchestras.

On the program book, there were HINDEMITH – Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2, and Bartók – Concerto for Orchestra. According to BSO’s website, Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky and the BSO on the occasion of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary in 1931, and Bartók’s ingeniously kaleidoscopic Concerto for Orchestra, a Koussevitzky commission premiered by the BSO in 1944.

After BSO finished Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, a large piano was moved to the front of the stage. Lang Lang walked onto the stage with thunderous applause from the audiences. After shaking hands with conductor and concertmaster, Lang Lang sat down in front of the piano and began to play after a moment of pause. Lang Lang’s passionate performance with expressive body language with the accompaniment of BSO made the Russian classic incisively and vividly. Lang Lang wiped sweats from his forehead with a handkerchief during breaks, which showed playing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with a world-renounced symphony orchestra as a pianist could be exhausting physically.

Music ended abruptly, and all the audience immediately stood up to give thunderous applause. The standing ovation lasted for about 10 minutes. Lang Lang returned to the stage at least six times with conductor de Burgos. In the end, Lang Lang played a short piece by Liszt, and then waved goodbye to the audience for the last time on that evening.

After the concert, conductor de Burgos praised: “Lang Lang was born for music. Playing with him is playing with music together!” Beatrice Lee, who interviewed Lang Lang when he was 17, pointed out that Lang Lang now looked more mature and humble than when he was a teenage sensation.

Xin Ding, a professional violinist at BSO since 1997, expressed her pleasure collaborating with Lang Lang. “As one of the top pianists in the world, Lang Lang makes Chinese people everywhere proud,” said Ms. Ding.