I was given tickets to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to see “some guy named Lang Lang.” It was maybe 2007 and I had been teaching piano for a few years. I was a young mother who taught music from our house and quite frankly, I was ready to have a night out, even if a piano player with the DSO wasn’t really my thing.
We made it to Orchestra Hall in time to have a cocktail before the show started. I ran to the ladies room before we went inside. The bathroom was wall to wall scantily clad young women who were adjusting their make up and primping their hair in the mirror. I hadn’t seen this much excitement for a classical music concert before.
The woman at the isle checked and rechecked our tickets. The house was sold out. As the lights faded to black and the orchestra tuned, a handsome young man dressed completely in black took the stage. Unlike many soloists who enter under house lights, Lang Lang entered stage right under the spot light. Within the first few seconds of stepping on to the stage, the plethora of girls from the bathroom and many more in the floor seats began to scream like they were at a rock concert in a stadium. I was speechless. I had never seen this kind of young, electric reception for a classical artist. His performance was animated, charming and alive. It was the first and last time I ever bought a CD at orchestra hall because I had to play his music in the car on the way home.
I was so grateful to get to see Lang Lang and if you’ve not had the experience yourself, I suggest you add it to your bucket list. Since he was in Detroit, he has wracked up some great accomplishments. In 2014, he partnered with the Faber music publisher to start the Lang Lang Piano Academy. He is credited for inspiring millions of Chinese children to learn to play the piano with the program. He also started the Lang Lang International Music Foundation which helps schools establish electric keyboard labs and provides opportunities to bring kids, piano and their community together.
Aside from his community work, Lang Lang is still a phenomenal performer, touring all over Europe and the United States in 2017. If you have the opportunity, get tickets to one of his shows. I’m serious. Not many things in life are inspiring anymore, his music is! Tickets can be found here.
It’s funny. We always think that rock stars and big names in music sing and play the guitar. Read about Lang Lang and his current works. Catch a show. And to all of my piano students who think that piano is boring, this guy is so very much the contrary.