The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: After a year recovering from an injury, Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang says he has become a more serious musician | August 11, 2019

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By Jacob Stockinger

The Chinese pianist Lang Lang (below) has long been popular, a best-selling superstar and one of the most bankable players in the business.

Yet such was his flamboyant showmanship and self-indulgence that many of his colleagues and critics did not take him very seriously. Many thought of him more as the Liberace of the classical concert stage.

But then a serious injury to his left arm, tendonitis from over-practicing and straining, forced Lang Lang to take a year off to recover.

During that time he married. He worked with young children and music students, even funding a new piano lab. And he released a new CD (“Piano Book”) of short pieces that he has loved since his student days. (You can see Lang Lang coaching a young pianist about a Mozart sonata that played a pivotal role in his life during a master class in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Lang Lang now says that during that recovery period he rethought everything about his career and has made some major changes from practicing to performing.

And what seems to have emerged, at age 37, is a new approach that emphasizes more seriousness and regularity coupled with greater respect for the music he plays.

Time will tell – in both live and recorded performances — how much has really changed in Lang Lang’s approach to making music.

Nonetheless, the dramatic change was recounted recently in a comprehensive story in The New York Times, which even goes back to trace the pianist’s career, including failures, from his early childhood (below) in China.

Read it and see what you think.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/arts/music/lang-lang-piano.html

Then tell us in the Comment section if it has changed how you think about Lang Lang.

The Ear wants to hear.


2 Comments »

  1. Lang Lang is uber-talented and it seems he has learned something positive from his life experiences. Good for him; I hope he does much with his good will and all the money he has and the doors he can open.

    Too bad so many of the closet racists out there, like one well-known blog leader.NL, at his classical music blog always posts nonsense not only about him but other Chinese too. We don’t need racism disguised as “classical music commentary.” Like Trump, this idiot also claims he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.

    That’s Trump’s shtick and it is getting old and very sick.

    Let’s hope Lang Lang becomes a world ambassador for classical music and the good that remains in mankind.

    Comment by fflambeau — August 11, 2019 @ 11:38 pm

  2. Hello. Nice site !

    Comment by Ginny Chiasson — August 11, 2019 @ 5:19 pm


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