Lang Lang will open Carnegie Hall with a support pianist

Details of the Hall’s opening gala:

We are excited to inform you that legendary jazz artist Chick Corea will join Lang Lang as featured soloists in a two-piano arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, as part of the Opening Night Gala concert on Wednesday, October 4.

Also performing at the keyboard with Lang Lang during the piece will be 14-year-old pianist Maxim Lando, an alumnus of the Lang Lang Foundation’s Young Scholars Program. Lando will partner with Lang Lang, as he continues to recover from an inflammation of his left arm.

Why is Yannick playing along with this charade?

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  • Maybe there is some precedent for this in the arts. This quote is taken from a NY Times article. “Another artist who has known Mr. Chihuly for many years said he believes Mr. Chihuly is still making “Chihuly art,” even if others are constructing and finishing it.” So, if Lando plays the music according to Lang Lang’s artistic vision, then its “as if” Lang Lang played it. And, the other pianist is actually getting credit, which is not clearly the case for the visual artist.

    • In other words, LL becomes now the Damien Hirst of the keyboard: the nominal pianist does the thinking, someone else press the keys (or, in Hirst’s case, paints the balls)…

    • It is two standard Bernstein orchestral suites with the Gershwin in between, so not a total mess.

      But the latter is described as “a rarely heard two-piano version of … Rhapsody in Blue performed between three pianists and [orchestra],” which of course makes no sense.

      Lang Lang will presumably be performing at a reduced fee, and the gala crowd will at least get to see him play. So no refunds.

  • Gala concerts are always a strange sub-species of concert programming, kind of like PBS fundraising specials. That said, Chick Corea has a great legacy in the jazz field if you go back far enough. I guess the paycheck was right here.

  • I was born at night, but I wasn’t born last night! Shame on Carnegie Hall for presenting such a sham.

  • Same changes in Vancouver Sept. 25
    Saint-Saëns: Aquarium, from The Carnival of Animals*˚
    Bernstein: America, from West Side Story*˚
    Tchaikovsky: Sugar Plum Fairy, from Nutcracker*˚
    Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, for Piano and Orchestra*˚

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