I was Lang Lang’s deputy

I was Lang Lang’s deputy


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2019

The LA Phil is putting on a cycle of Beethoven piano concertos.

All five were booked with Lang Lang, but he’s now only playing #2.

Excuses? None.

The substitutes: Conrad Tao, Beatrice Rana, Yulianna Avdeeva and Javier Perianes.

Money back? No comment.



  • Tommy says:

    Money back…? No no – ticket holders should pay more. I’m less familiar with Conrad Tao, but the other three are really good. Complete packages… 🙂

    • esfir ross says:

      Money back for Yliana Avdeeva-mediocre, odd choice to the 4 others promising talents. Lang Lang’s finest musician that got bad wrap. Get Nikita Mdoyants-he owns 4 concerto

  • Oleg Filemonsoon says:

    You would have to pay *me* to attend a Bang Bang concert.

    • Caravaggio says:

      I couldn’t get paid enough to attend anything by Bang Bang even if all travel expenses were paid such as airfare, lodging, meals, etc. and I got extra remuneration for my graces. I mean it. Now, for Beatrice Rana, it would be a different story.

    • Norbert says:

      Why on earth would anyone with taste attend a Lang Lang concert? I’d rather watch paint dry….

      • M2N2K says:

        Why? Because quite a few of us are able to appreciate and enjoy superb instrumental mastery and tremendous musical talent, even when we disagree with some of performer’s interpretive choices.

  • Anon says:

    I would have actually been more surprised if he had done all the concerts as advertised.
    When I saw the season launch, my first thought was : well, how many is he *actually* going to do?

  • Bruce says:

    Conrad Tao played all five Beethoven concerti with my orchestra about 4-5 yeas ago. He was wonderful. He came back last season (Saint-Saens #2) and is still wonderful — maybe more so. He’s a “young hotshot,” but he’s the real thing.

    • NN says:

      Mikhail Pletnev sometimes played all five Beethoven concerti on two nights: 1-3 + 4-5. In 2006 he additionally made live recordings of all concerti and it was outstanding.

  • Ernest Robles says:

    I attended the concert. Tao perfomed piano concerto 1, Rana the third. Both played wonderfully. Dudamel was a last minute cancellation for family reasons. The concert, which included the Egmont overture, was conducted by cover conductor Stephen Mulligan.

  • John says:

    Beatrice Rana is top notch, she plays Prokofiev Piano Concerto Nr. 2, that is really a challenge. Great nature, wonderful musicality, on of the 10 best female pianists nowadays.

    • Walter says:

      Absolutely !! She’s one of the most talented young pianists with something personal to say. Her NY recital debut in March at Zankel Hall was miraculous. Who needs Bang Bang when there are so many better musicians out there, many not getting their due.

    • Cyril says:

      Depends what composer she’s playing. I’ve never heard her play Beethoven. Her Ravel is superb and her Prokofiev is quite good. She doesn’t “get” Chopin.

  • LondonPianist says:

    The excuse is tendinitis – says so on the website. In any case, attending the concerts is much more appealing now!

  • Roland says:

    I would even pay extra money to attend the concert of Beatrice Rana replacing Lang Lang! She´s brillant.

  • M2N2K says:

    For an opinion that is quite different from most comments here, see https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-dudamel-beethoven-piano-concertos-review-20190525-story.html .
    Quote 1: “performance of Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto was spectacular, and something people may well be talking about for years. This was not so much Lang Lang returning as Lang Lang arriving. The showmanship he’s famous for remains but now is put to the profound service — that’s right, “profound” and “Lang Lang” no longer make an oxymoron — of making every musical gesture come to life.”
    Quote 2: “performance made it seem possible that Lang Lang will one day be worthy of mention in the company of Glenn Gould, Vladimir Horowitz and Martha Argerich, the pantheon of pianists of personality, poetry, originality, astonishing virtuosity and enthralling musicality.”
    Quote 3: “joy was the true hallmark of this approach. Lang Lang phrased every small gesture as an observer of the music, not just as a maker. In his monumental first movement cadenza, he went from elegant delicacy to a ferocious, life-affirming intensity. He also played with exquisite sensitivity to the orchestra around him, which allowed Dudamel to turn the performance into a true dialogue.”
    The reviewer liked Yulianna Avdeeva’s playing very much as well: “the concentration she brought to the Fourth, especially her spiritual intensity in the last movement — aided by Dudamel’s drama and grandeur — revealed something special indeed. Even her encore, the Bourrée movement from Bach’s English Suite No. 2, had an otherworldly finesse that made it unrecognizable from her unremarkable recent recording of it. Hers may be an even bigger transformation than Lang Lang’s.”