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Since his dramatic and triumphant last-minute appearance at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival (filling in for an indisposed Andre Watts) in August, 1999, 18-year-old pianist Lang Lang has burst upon the international musical scene with unparalleled excitement and acclaim. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as one of the biggest and most exciting keyboard talents encountered in many a year; already performing with the world’s leading orchestras; and soon to make his Carnegie Hall debut, this captivating young pianist has shown himself to be an artist of maturity and depth well beyond his years.
Born in 1982 in Shen Yang, China, Lang Lang began studying piano at the age of three. He won the first of numerous awards at age five, when he took first prize in the Shen Yang Piano Competition, after which he gave his first public recital. At age nine, he entered the China Central Music Conservatory where he studied with Professor Zhao Ping-Guo. In 1995 he won first prize in the Second Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition held in Japan, and in 1997 he was accepted into the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he currently studies with Gary Graffman, Director of the Institute.
In August of 2000, amidst a busy schedule of debut appearances (including performances with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap), Telarc captured the first recording to be made by this remarkable young artist, live in recital at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood.
The virtuoso program showcases Lang Lang’s wide-ranging abilities as both a masterful technician and stylistic interpreter. Opening with a sparkling performance of Haydn’s Sonata in E major, Lang Lang tears into the daunting Second Sonata of Rachmaninoff in a breathtaking performance that leaves no doubt of his astonishing skills. The second half of the recital opens with tender readings of Brahms’ introspective Piano Pieces, Opus 118. A haunting performance of works by Tchaikovsky sets the stage for the piece de resistance: the hugely virtuosic Islamey "Oriental Fantasy" by Balakirev. Notable for its fistfuls of notes (played by Lang Lang with complete aplomb), it was first performed by legendary 19th-century pianist Nikolai Rubinstein. Franz Liszt played it in his later years as a means of honing his technique.
On April 26, 2001, Lang Lang will make his Carnegie Hall debut with Yuri Temirkanov and the Baltimore Symphony, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto. Also in 2001, he will make his European debut with Maestro Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic of Russia and his London debut, where he will perform the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto.
The 2001/2002 season will find him in subscription debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch, the New York Philharmonic and NDR Hamburg Symphony, both under Christoph Eschenbach, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in a tour of Japan. He will also give debut recitals in London at Wigmore Hall and in Paris at the Louvre.