Piano phenom Lang Lang returns to Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Piano phenom Lang Lang returns to Aspen

Susannah Luthi
Special to The Aspen Times
Chinese pianist Lang Lang performs at a recital tonight and twice more this week during Aspen Music Festival and School programs. (Kasskara/Courtesy Deutsche Grammophon)

This week brings two of the world’s favorite young artists to the Aspen Music Festival and School ” 23-year-old Julia Fischer and 23-year-old piano phenomenon Lang Lang.

Since his debut at the Ravinia Festival when he was only 17, Lang Lang has been winning over audiences with his intricate playing and unique, charismatic performing style.

He brings these elements back to Aspen in three upcoming events ” a recital today at 6 p.m. in the Benedict Music Tent, a 10 a.m. Master Class at Harris Concert Hall on Thursday and a featured appearance with conductor James Conlon and the Aspen Chamber Symphony at the tent on Friday at 6 p.m.

Last seen in Aspen in 2003, Lang Lang has made high-profile appearances in the world’s top venues in New York, Berlin, London and Moscow. He’s taken the spotlight on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, Good Morning America and the BBC television network, and was also named a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Born in Shenyang, China, Lang Lang began studying at the Beijing Conservatory when he was 8. When he was 13 he won the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, and when he was 15 he moved to the United States to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. But his breakthrough performance was as a last-minute replacement at Ravinia, when he played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, deeply impressing the discriminating Chicago-area audience.

Two years later, he debuted at Carnegie Hall, and his musical prowess, showmanship and magnetism on stage have made him an international attraction ever since. (People magazine even named him one of the “Top Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World.”) For this week’s local appearances, he is presenting crowd-pleasing repertoire ranging from Chopin and Rachmaninoff for today’s program, to Mozart for the Friday concert.