M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
Megastar Pianist Lang Lang to Open the Richmond Symphony’s 2018-2019 Season
August 20, 2018 – Richmond, VA: The Richmond Symphony’s Opening Night concert will feature the incredible talent of Chinese piano virtuoso, Lang Lang. Heralded by the New York Times as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”, Lang Lang plays sold out concerts covering all continents of the globe. The concert will be held on Friday, September 21st at 8:00pm in the Dominion Energy Center of the Performing Arts, and will feature Lang Lang and the Richmond Symphony performing Mozart’s Concerto No. 24 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra; one of the most powerful and well-known works in classical music. The evening’s program will also include the Richmond Symphony performing Julia Perry’s Study for Orchestra and Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique, Opus 14.
Lang Lang’s career as a musician is widely heralded as an epic of inspiration. He started playing the piano at age three, and gave his first public recital before the age of five. He entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at nine, and won First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians at 13. He subsequently went to Philadelphia to study with legendary pianist Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music. He was seventeen when his big break came, substituting for André Watts at the Gala of the Century, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach: he became an overnight sensation and the invitations started to pour in.
He has formed ongoing collaborations with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Eschenbach and performs with the world’s top orchestras. Lang Lang is known for thinking outside of the box and frequently steps into different musical worlds. His performances at the GRAMMY Awards with Metallica, Pharrell Williams and jazz legend Herbie Hancock were hailed by millions of viewers.
As a pianist, educator and philanthropist, as well as an influential ambassador for the arts, Lang Lang has fully embraced new technology and innovation, leading the way in bringing classical music into the 21st century. His efforts as an ambassador for classical music have brought him tremendous recognition; he was presented with the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos and was picked as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. In 2016 Lang Lang was invited to the Vatican to perform for Pope Francis. He has also performed for numerous other international dignitaries, including four US presidents.
Lang Lang makes his long-awaited debut with the Richmond Symphony this season in the Carpenter Theater, after an injury prevented his performance scheduled for last September. The Richmond Symphony is delighted to welcome him to perform on the inaugural concert of the 2018-19 Altria Masterworks series.
“I am thrilled to welcome the superstar pianist Lang Lang to Richmond, sharing Mozart’s intimate and personal Piano Concerto in C minor,” said Richmond Symphony Music Director Steven Smith. “I am also anticipating with great relish performing the Symphonie Fantastique of Hector Berlioz, one of the most imaginative and colorful works of the entire orchestral repertoire. All this and a noteworthy work by Julia Perry will open this exciting season of musical masterpieces.”
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor is only one of two piano concertos in a minor key in the composer’s repertoire. It has the largest orchestra of any concerto by Mozart. The dark and stormy first movement has an atypical triple meter. It begins with a hushed sense and then erupts with vehemence, never really escaping its serious tone. The piano starts the second movement with an understated melody that returns often, framing episodes featuring the woodwinds. The last movement is a set of eight variations based on an understated minor melody. There are brief flashes of happiness, but the concerto insists on ending in a tempestuous and minor mood.
Symphonie fantastique, Opus 14 tells a partly autobiographical story of composer Hector Berlioz’s romantic and sensitive nature. A single melodic idea that represents his “Beloved One” ties each of the five movements together. Berlioz insisted that knowing the story was essential to understanding the work. The epic involves a young musician’s delirious lovesick visions, brought on by self-inflicted poison. The five movements move through elation, chaos, and desperation, ending with a vulgar distortion of the original melodic theme. Non-symphony regulars would recognize this piece from the popular Jennifer Lopez movie, Sleeping with the Enemy.
Julia Perry’s contemporary piece Study for Orchestra was her first work after she began studying with Luigi Dallapiccola. It was premiered in Italy and then again in revised form by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by William Steinberg. It begins with a brash, angular, and syncopated statement by the orchestra that returns three times in the piece to frame several slower and more lyrical sections. Those parts have melodic connections to the opening material, providing a logical and tightly constructed work.
Tickets start at $30 for adults, and $15 for children under 18. Visit richmondsymphony.com or call 804.788.1212 for more information.
The Masterworks series is sponsored by Altria and this concert is sponsored by Covington Travel. The Guest Artist sponsor is Genworth Financial with supporting sponsorship from RiverFront Investments. The media sponsor for this series is Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Steven Smith, conductor
Perry: Study for Orchestra
Mozart: Concerto No. 24 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, K. 491
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Opus 14
- Reveries and Passions: Largo- Allegro agitato e appassionato assai
- A Ball: Waltz – Allegro non troppo
- In the Country: Adagio
- March to the Scaffold: Allegretto non troppo
- Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath: Larghetto – Allegro
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About the Richmond Symphony
Kicking off its 61st Season in September 2018, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.
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