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The Warsaw Voice » Other » January 13, 2010
Celebrating Chopin
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Lang Lang Opens Chopin Year
January 13, 2010 By Dominik Skurzak   
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The Year of Chopin officially opened Jan. 7 with a concert by famous Chinese pianist Lang Lang at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw.

"Playing Chopin concertos is a never-ending challenge for me," Lang Lang told journalists at a press conference Jan. 6. "His music is eternally fresh in that musicians learn to play his concertos with perfection and just as they think they know the best interpretation there is, they get to know his other compositions, the mazurkas, the scherzos, the polonaises and ballades. They realize that all those works are there in Chopin's concertos. Knowing that, they change their interpretation of the concertos forever."

Lang Lang, 27, began to learn to play the piano at the tender age of three, tutored by Prof. Zhu Yafen. Two years later, he won his first competition playing his first public recital. The turning point in his career came in August 1999 when, standing in for André Watts, he played Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky at the Ravinia Festival, accompanied by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

Lang Lang has won a Grammy nomination for an album with Beethoven's concertos and all his albums have gone platinum in China.

The pianist says he likes challenges and alongside superb releases with classic pieces, his recordings feature a somewhat lighter repertoire. He frequently takes part in recording sessions for movie scores.

At the National Philharmonic, Lang Lang played Chopin's works for piano and orchestra, including Andante spianato, Grand Polonaise in E Flat Major op. 22, Piano Concerto in F Minor op. 21 and Piano Concerto in E Minor op. 11. The audience also heard Missa solemnis by Franz Liszt featuring Polish soloists Joanna Kozłowska (soprano), Ewa Wolak (mezzo-soprano), Ryszard Minkiewicz (tenor), and Jarosław Bręk (bass). The National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir was conducted by Antoni Wit.

During the press conference, Lang Lang described Chopin's Piano Concerto in F Minor as "the most beautiful composition of all times." Lang Lang started playing it when he was 13 and his interpretation of the piece has changed in recent years.

The National Philharmonic concert was held under the auspices of lower house speaker Bronisław Komorowski and culture minister Bogdan Zdrojewski.
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