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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 27, 2004
There's been a Lang Lang sighting." That news reassured the 90 students, parents and teachers waiting patiently at Jordan Kitt's Music in Lutherville Saturday afternoon for a question-and-answer session with the personable pianistic phenomenon. Seems the pianist's driver got lost on the way to the store for the event, held on Lang Lang's day off between performances of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra over the weekend. "First of all," said a broadly smiling Lang Lang when he finally arrived, "Happy Chinese New Year!
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | September 10, 2009
Certain artists, like certain politicians, generate such intense for-them or against-them camps that there's little room for any reaction in between. Lang Lang is such an artist. The Chinese-born piano virtuoso, who will be the featured soloist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2009-2010 season-launching gala concert on Saturday, has a decidedly personal approach to music-making. With Lang Lang, you get an experience, not a mere performance. He doesn't sit still or maintain a poker face when he plays, and he doesn't hesitate to push or pull a phrase, to rush or slow a tempo in an unusual manner.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 9, 2002
Lang Lang Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3. Scriabin: Etudes. Lang Lang, pianist; St. Petersburg Philharmonic; Yuri Temirkanov, conductor. (Telarc SACD-60582) **** Audiences who have already heard Lang Lang in person know what to expect when this young Chinese pianist gets near a piano - spontaneous (and contagious) combustion. With his technical fireworks, interpretive passion and imagination, and unalloyed enthusiasm for every note, he's one of the most exciting talents to emerge in years.
ENTERTAINMENT
By TIM SMITH | March 19, 2009
Star power, cultural diversity and the circus - a brief summation of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2009-2010 season. The presence of several big-name guests on the lineup may well get the most attention as subscribers digest the material, released Tuesday. "I think we've done well," says music director Marin Alsop. "The trick was to figure out how to maintain reasonable ticket prices and bump up the level of artists we feature." Those artists include such longtime luminaries as sopranos Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle (in separate concerts)
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 4, 2005
The phenomenon named Lang Lang returned to the region over the weekend, seemingly determined to confirm conflicting viewpoints about his talent. Those who think the pianist is an undisciplined showman with a penchant for exaggerating tempos and phrasing might have felt smugly justified Saturday at the Kennedy Center during his recital for the Washington Performing Arts Society (repeated yesterday at the Meyerhoff, presented by the Baltimore Symphony)....
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | September 10, 2009
Certain artists, like certain politicians, generate such intense for-them or against-them camps that there's little room for any reaction in between. Lang Lang is such an artist. The Chinese-born piano virtuoso, who will be the featured soloist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2009-2010 season-launching gala concert on Saturday, has a decidedly personal approach to music-making. With Lang Lang, you get an experience, not a mere performance. He doesn't sit still or maintain a poker face when he plays, and he doesn't hesitate to push or pull a phrase, to rush or slow a tempo in an unusual manner.
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 5, 2005
Lang Lang, the Chinese piano star, sat on the edge of an intimate stage at the Baltimore School for the Arts, dispensing musical, nutritional and even a little psychological advice with the wit and wisdom of a graying veteran. But he's only slightly older than his audience - about 100 music and dance high school students who stayed to see Lang Lang Friday afternoon, even though school had let out for the day an hour earlier. They seemed equally awed and charmed by the easygoing keyboard artist, dressed in chic black, his shoulder-length hair and long sideburns giving him something of a vintage rocker look.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 28, 2001
NEW YORK - Yuri Temirkanov has certainly looked pleased before at the end of a concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, but something about his smile Thursday evening in Carnegie Hall, something in the eyes, suggested a new level of satisfaction with his musicians. The reasons were easy to hear. When he led the BSO last week at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in the same Prokofiev/Grieg/Dvorak program, there was plenty of warmth and vitality in the playing. But this repeat - the most important stop on the orchestra's East Coast tour that wraps up tomorrow in Hartford, Conn.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | June 22, 2001
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has plunged directly from its demanding regular concert season into its annual Summer MusicFest with hardly a breath in between. Wednesday's opener at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall found the players none the worse for wear, and festival artistic director Mario Venzago very much in the mood to make engaging music. Typically, festivals begin on a rousing note. The Swiss-born Venzago took delight in telling the audience - after first offering his now-traditional apology for his English - that this festival was beginning with a "piano."
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun Music Critic | April 15, 2001
Edvard Grieg's perpetual hit parade-topper, the Piano Concerto in A minor, is hardly child's play. But it's not uncommon for talented young pianists to tackle it successfully, making an impressive splash with the famous opening cascades down the keyboard and the impetuous dance of the finale. What's exceedingly rare is to find a young pianist who can make out of all those familiar notes something fresh and insightful. Lang Lang is such a rarity. The 18-year-old, Chinese-born musician will perform the Grieg warhorse with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra this week, and in Carnegie Hall and several other venues from Pennsylvania to Connecticut the following week.
NEWS
March 28, 2006
I got fired by the piano teacher. She said I'm not talented, that I shouldn't play piano and that I should do something else." - LANG LANG, concert pianist, on what he was told as a student at Central Music Conservatory in Beijing
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | December 5, 2005
Lang Lang, the Chinese piano star, sat on the edge of an intimate stage at the Baltimore School for the Arts, dispensing musical, nutritional and even a little psychological advice with the wit and wisdom of a graying veteran. But he's only slightly older than his audience - about 100 music and dance high school students who stayed to see Lang Lang Friday afternoon, even though school had let out for the day an hour earlier. They seemed equally awed and charmed by the easygoing keyboard artist, dressed in chic black, his shoulder-length hair and long sideburns giving him something of a vintage rocker look.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 4, 2005
The phenomenon named Lang Lang returned to the region over the weekend, seemingly determined to confirm conflicting viewpoints about his talent. Those who think the pianist is an undisciplined showman with a penchant for exaggerating tempos and phrasing might have felt smugly justified Saturday at the Kennedy Center during his recital for the Washington Performing Arts Society (repeated yesterday at the Meyerhoff, presented by the Baltimore Symphony)....
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 3, 2005
The last time two pianists sparked widespread acclaim, generated reams of publicity and divided their admirers into opposing camps was at least half a century ago, back in the heyday of Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein. Today, a pair of richly gifted, 22-year-old Chinese keyboard artists are doing the same. By a happy coincidence of scheduling, Lang Lang and Yundi Li will both give recitals in Baltimore within the span of a month. The former appears today at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with a program of Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 24, 2004
The invaluable Shriver Hall Concert Series, which presented keyboard magician Lang Lang in his Baltimore recital debut on Sunday, has planned another high-quality array of soloists and ensembles for its 39th season. The 2004- 2005 lineup includes an appearance in October by the sensational Polish vocal artist Ewa Podles, one of the few, true contraltos to appear in ages. Her recital includes works by Rossini, Dvorak, Turina and Moniuszko. Eminent Russian cellist Natalia Gutman, accompanied by noted pianist Elizo Virzaladze, is slated for a recital in April 2005.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 27, 2004
There's been a Lang Lang sighting." That news reassured the 90 students, parents and teachers waiting patiently at Jordan Kitt's Music in Lutherville Saturday afternoon for a question-and-answer session with the personable pianistic phenomenon. Seems the pianist's driver got lost on the way to the store for the event, held on Lang Lang's day off between performances of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra over the weekend. "First of all," said a broadly smiling Lang Lang when he finally arrived, "Happy Chinese New Year!
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 21, 2001
Two connective threads hold the latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program together. One is the influence of folk music, as reflected in works by Grieg, Dvorak and Prokofiev. The other is sheer, exhilarating virtuosity. On Thursday evening at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, music director Yuri Temirkanov seemed determined to get as much bravura from the BSO as possible. And the guest artist, Lang Lang, seemed determined to put as much bravura as possible into a keyboard. The result was a concert that snapped, crackled and popped.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 3, 2005
The last time two pianists sparked widespread acclaim, generated reams of publicity and divided their admirers into opposing camps was at least half a century ago, back in the heyday of Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein. Today, a pair of richly gifted, 22-year-old Chinese keyboard artists are doing the same. By a happy coincidence of scheduling, Lang Lang and Yundi Li will both give recitals in Baltimore within the span of a month. The former appears today at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with a program of Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 24, 2004
There's nothing like some hot music-making to take your mind off the arctic weather. And things were definitely hot Thursday night at the Meyerhoff, where the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra offered one of its most satisfying concerts so far this season. Heat-seekers get one more chance to hear it tomorrow afternoon. The program contains two grand works - Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Elgar's Symphony No. 1. The concerto is a new vehicle for Chinese-born Lang Lang. He learned the score at the request of BSO music director Yuri Temirkanov, who was to have been on the podium, but got sidelined by the flu. Stepping in is British conductor James Judd, who made his BSO debut two weeks ago under the same circumstances and really seems to click with the musicians.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 4, 2003
Two powerhouses swept through the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Thursday night - composer Jennifer Higdon and pianist Lang Lang, the featured attractions on this week's National Symphony Orchestra program. Each left a long-lasting impression. Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra, written for the Philadelphia Orchestra and premiered by that ensemble last year, is a five-movement score that easily stakes a claim as one of the most inventive and substantive additions to American music in years. Even if there are a couple of spots that seem a little long-winded, the array of sound colors never ceases to grab the ear, while the brilliant working-out of ideas never ceases to impress.
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