Just in: Lang Lang cancels Asia tour with Berlin Philharmonic

Just in: Lang Lang cancels Asia tour with Berlin Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2017

It is now six months since the Chinese pianist suffered an injury to his arm.

Recovery is painfully slow.

Statement from the Berlin Phil:


Lang Lang very much regrets that he is forced to withdraw from his upcoming guest appearances as a
soloist in concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and on a concert tour of Asia. He needs to allow additional time to recover fully from a tendinitis of his left arm. We hope Lang Lang gets better soon and look forward to him appearing with us as a soloist in the future.

We are grateful that the young Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho has agreed to step in for him for the concerts in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Seoul. We are also grateful to Yuja Wang, who will step in for the concerts in Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shanghai and Tokyo.




  • Mark says:


  • C. Neumann says:

    “Just in”? That was announced yesterday morning! And he cancels not only the Berlin Philharmonic, but other venues, too.

  • Olassus says:

    One country, two systems.
    One tour, two DG pianists.
    No China dates for the Korean.

    • Max Grimm says:

      “No China dates for the Korean.”

      When in doubt, follow the money and/or the name.
      Seong-Jin Cho takes over the concerts where ticket prices ranged from a minimum of roughly €60 to a maximum of €335.
      Yuja Wang takes over the concerts where ticket prices started out at more than €110 and climbed to roughly €500.

      • herrera says:

        Yuja Wang has to charge more, because one gets to see more of her.

        My bad, that comment was a sexist, misogynistic sexualization of a young woman free to dress any way she wants without the loutish comments of leering old men.

        • Radtek says:

          Yuja has a hot body…there’s no doubt. In her Oct 15th performance in Miami Beach, her first dress was very revealing BUT the second dress was inappropriate. It amounted to shorty spandex shorts with super high heels.

    • Young says:

      I think Cho cannot be assigned for the China tour because of the political tensions between China and South Korea. Actually the concerts of the Korean artists such as Sumi jo, Kunwoo Paik etc. were cancelled these days.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Since presumably neither Seong-Jin Cho nor Yuja Wang commands Lang Lang’s fee, will the ticket prices be lowered?

    • Bruce says:


      • Max Grimm says:

        Indeed. In quite a few Asian cities, the Berlin Phil could probably sell out a hall or come close to it, charging the same ticket prices without having any soloists and a program consisting entirely of Boulez and Stockhausen.

    • MacroV says:

      I would guess that in many cases it’s the presenter, rather than the Berlin Phil, paying the fee. So maybe they’ll save a little.

      More generally, I’m curious about whether big orchestras like Berlin pay the “rack rates” often floated around for big-name soloists. After all, the Berlin Phil really doesn’t need to book Lang Lang. But even a big star like Lang Lang probably needs engagements from the high-prestige orchestras to maintain his golden reputation. So I would guess Toledo pays full fare, Berlin less.

    • Chi Wang says:

      Cho is really good. He won the Chopin Competition in 2015. I was very impressed with his playing of Chopon Nocturne op 48 – an extremely difficult Nocturne with technical and intrepretation challenges. He did an amazing job and played it perfectly.

  • Ga Kitada says:

    If you take a look at Yuja’s website, she has a European tour with Mahler Chamber Orchestra until the 10th of November which means that she won’t have been able to play for any of the concerts prior to the 10th so they must have got Seong-Jin Cho instead. They also probably wanted him for the Seoul date for the home crowd.

    • HSY says:

      But Cho has to cancel several concerts in North America in order to make his debut with Berlin Philharmonic. I can’t say I blame him though.

  • Bruce says:

    As I’ve said before: I’m not a fan of Lang Lang, but I wouldn’t wish tendonitis on anyone. (Or focal dystonia, or carpal tunnel syndrome, or any of the other overuse/misuse disorders that musicians are susceptible to.)

  • Ben says:

    I am glad that the Berliner didn’t go with Lang’s 5 hands Rhapsody in Blue stunt.

  • Lucas says:

    Wow. Cho is the most anticipated young pianist I have ever seen. He shows contemplative and have good interpretation of music. and his technique is excellen! It is the most overwhelming of the pianists of the same generation.He has a good chance!

  • Cleliac . says:

    Cho’s playing is with absolute purity and clarity at the same time is full of flowing emotions. Cant love it more.Good luck, Cho.

    And Get well soon, Lang Lang.

  • Peter Tarsio says:

    Is that what is left and only the Asians cover the concert scene throughout the world? How did he suffer this indignity and infirmity where he lamed his left arm in practicing or performing or a,combination of nothing? It seems he gets attention despite this egregious affliction that has detained him from making any more grimaces while fidgeting about on the bench.