Bernstein daily: Lang Lang joins the bandwaggon

Bernstein daily: Lang Lang joins the bandwaggon


norman lebrecht

January 26, 2018

Lang Lang and students from his International Music Foundation will pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein at the Grammys’ “Salute to Classical Music” taking place at Carnegie Hall this afternoon.

According to a press release they will perform arrangements of Bernstein’s music, marking his ‘lifelong devotion to building bridges between genres, cultures, and social strata.’

You wonder what Lenny would have made of it all.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I suppose Lenny-the-Radical-Chick would be delighted.

    • Adam Stern says:

      Dunno about that…but I’m sure that the Lenny who really and truly believed the following would have been honored.

      “Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed… because people are changed by art – enriched, ennobled, encouraged – they then act in a way that may affect the course of events… by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think.”

      • Antonia says:

        These are the same sentiments as expressed by Andris Nelsons, and he had to walk back from them after the revelations of James Levine’s heinous behaviors.

        I’m now a cynic that classical music participation automatically ennobles anyone. Just as with God, it extends the invitation to us- but it’s up to is whether we respond to the invitation or not. People can participate in classical music-making and remain every bit the scoundrels they might have been previously. I have also seen a choral conductor lie to the face of his choristers to preserve his reputation and also fail to pay us (his employees in a large arts organization) for a short month because he didn’t want to bother paying payroll costs for the sake of checks covering only two weeks’ worth of work. (He is financially well off.) He chose to allow his employees to go two weeks without pay rather than to bother with payroll costs.

        I love the lofty tenor of this Bernstein quote and wish that I could believe it. We do hear and experience something noble in classical music and find a call to become better humans. It’s definitely present there. But we must respond! Bernstein responded!

    • Isaac says:

      Is. Lang Lang performing now? After his shoulder illness? Is it only the students that will play
      Hope he is back
      His debut when Lang Lang was a child was because Lenny regcognized his talent
      When is he scheduled to start touring and performing again?

      • Antonia says:

        In the views of many piano instructors in the online piano pedagogy forums, he’ll need to completely rework his technique in order to fully come back and not reinjure himself. His instructional videos reveal an overemphasis upon lifting the fingers high, which can cause some real damage. We do hope for his return! He has spurred a tremendous renewal of interest in the study of piano in China, to the extent that new piano manufacturers are springing up all around the country to support the growing demand! This is all very exciting and we’re grateful to Lang Lang for serving as such an inspiration to the children of China. We wish him the very best in his recovery and wish him a lifetime of healthy playing and performing!

  • wrenbek says:

    I’m old enough to remember what a hot mess the Bernstein Mass was. Lang Lang and the bandwagon seem like the apex of high art in comparison

  • Rodney Friend says:

    Just reading these few words from Lenny remind us how much he’s missed.