Just in: Lang Lang is still struggling

Just in: Lang Lang is still struggling


norman lebrecht

December 19, 2018

From the LA Phil:

In order to ensure maximum recovery time from tendinitis of the left arm, pianist Lang Lang very much regrets that he can only proceed with two performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, instead of the previously announced five concertos for the upcoming Lang Lang and Beethoven series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The following pianists will join Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the other concertos: Beatrice Rana, Conrad Tao, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Javier Perianes.



  • JohnB says:

    When he can do two performances and there are five concerts announced, why do they name four following pianists?

    • James says:

      Five concertos, not five concerts – I expect that each concerto is being done twice. So he’s now only doing one of the concertos.

      • JohnB says:

        You’re right, I should learn to read.

        Nevertheless the stand ins are a little bit disappointing if you expected Lang Lang to perform.

        Regardless if his musical qualities are as good as his marketing abilities, couldn’t they have asked at least Beethoven-warhorses like Lupu, Buchbinder, Uchida or Schiff? Or young stars like Wang, Trifonov, Lisiecki, Blechacz or Debargue?

        • Mick the Knife says:

          Marketing can’t create chops where there are none.

        • Feeling Annoyed says:

          @JohnB – just curious, but are you a ticket holder for one of these concerts?
          Maybe the “Beethoven warhorses” you listed aren’t just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. The replacements LAPO got are headliners in their own right.

        • M2N2K says:

          Apparently, JohnB talked to all of the pianists (he) named and they all said – under oath – that they were not asked.

    • Feeling Annoyed says:

      5 concertos minus 1 concerto = 4 concertos remaining.
      My goodness some of the commenters on this blog have no reading comprehension!

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    Acupuncture works wonders for tendinitis. Surely he could get the best acupuncturist in the world. If there are any other musicians out there suffering from tenditis, do try acupuncture.

  • Mark Hildrew says:

    LL seems to have toned down his concerto repertoire at least for the moment. In Berlin the other week was Mozart KV491 and now Beethoven #2. Different from those long tours when he was alternating Bartok 2 + Prok 3

  • Jeffrey Sonheim says:

    Mr Lang ought to take this time to contemplate the quality of his performances. Too often they are grandstanding chaotic affairs that are not in the best traditions of musicianship. Artur Rubinstein went through a similar period in his performing career with much benefit to both himself and music. Here is hoping the flamboyance can end, respect for the composer’s notes can take on a new life in Mr Lang’s performances, and that Mr Lang directs his efforts to those who can distinguish what true musicianship involves.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      There are a number of other pianists whose concerts you can attend and CDs you can buy, if LL is not your cup of tea. But to lecture him, an artist who can play any way he wants to, takes a lot of gall.

    • Jimmy Jew says:

      what’s wrong with flamboyance in a performance? It adds a lot of energy, colors, and variety to the performance and to the enhancement of the enjoyment of the audience. Besides, Jeff, do you know what “true musicianship” is ?

  • anon says:

    You know, the LA Phil is worshipped by critics for its programming, for attracting a younger crowd, and for being profitable, but judging from the original concept of this series, Lang Lang doing the complete Beethoven concerti cycle in a week, that’s just pure marketing gimmickry, since when was LL known for any insight into Beethoven whatsoever? If this is representative of what programming is in LA, no wonder they make money, but at what price? I might as well go hear Bocelli do the complete Puccini operas in a week.

  • Vera malone says:

    Lang Lang is a TRUE musician and is in demand all over the world for his truly AMAZING performances. What more can one say!! Nothing….as he is the BEST pianist in the whole world. Vera (Ireland).

    • Ben says:

      The fact that you use the word ‘BEST’ to describe any musician has just exposed how much you really know about music making.

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Not to be cynical or anything, how are tickets sales?

  • Andy Voro says:

    My wife, a great piano professor, has noticed years ago that Lang Lang had tendinitis or a similar ailment. She pointed out the unnatural way he hammered the keys and also the subtle side gestures he made to shake off his pain. She tried to talk to him about fixing the problem, to no avail.

    Today I see the first official admission that he’s really ill. Normally, these “professional” ailments of musicians spring up from unprofessional (awkward) methods of making sounds. When the inevitable chronic pain results, it becomes the barrier to the joy of making music for the performer, ruining it both for him and the audience, in effect, denying us the musical gifts he possesses. This is sad.

    My wife often blames performer’s teachers for these situations, although in her late twenties she radically changed her own technique without any teacher guiding her. Hopefully, Lang Lang will do so as well.

  • Ben says:

    I still remember Pressler barely moved on the Philly stage, yet the music he made that night was gold dust.

    Lang Lang could learn a few things about that.

  • ktmay says:

    LL, hopefully you will seek out a trained Taubman Approach teacher, or better yet, go and find Edna Golandsky herself!!

  • george says:

    From the articles I’ve read, it seems that LL was performing every third day early in his career. Maybe he was chasing the money. All I know is this: to recover from an injury like tendonitis, changes have to be made. I found that lowering the piano bench several inches helps relieve tension while playing. Not as low as Glenn Gould, but it works. I know, I’m almost cured from my tendonitis.

  • Claire says:

    I am so concerned for him. In fact I have have him on U-Tube
    now. I will continue to pray for maestro Lang Land. Love to his family. Claire.