Thursday, May 25, 2006

Random Thoughts - 4/28/06

The smell of spring is getting stronger, and my performances and activities are getting denser, just like this spring rain. I’ve been working like crazy these few days, trying to balance performances, practicing new pieces and preparing for my important performance at Carnegie Hall all at once, so busy that my mind’s going to burst.

Even though it was my 10th performance at Carnegie Hall, it was only the 2nd solo recital. I was pleased to have this opportunity and at the same time, felt the pressure all around me. I must concentrate for large periods of time to practice, and must also ensure that I can keep a calm and peaceful mind to think over the music. I shut down all my phones, shunned out everything from the outside world and self-trained myself strictly. Although I disliked using the metronome, I kept it with me this time, just in case. I wanted to be in my best shape for this performance.

The April 26th performance at Carnegie Hall finally arrived. All 2900 tickets had been sold out a few months ago, there were also 100 seats added onto the stage. Due to my preparation, I was in full confidence of this performance. During the performance, every piece that I played earned passionate applauses from the audience. My music took them by heart! My music conquered them! Their passionate response was the best proof! Some might say that I’m arrogant to say something like this, but I think it’s just the natural confidence one gets after working hard, thinking hard and earning what he deserves.

I’ve talked mostly about my preparation before the performance. Now I’d like to share with you some funny little stories to make up for not updating my blog as often as I wished.

1. After the performance and a few encores, I still hadn’t satisfied the audience. I was drawn back to the stage by the impassioned applause after quite a few curtain calls. Just then, I heard somebody call out: “erhu erhu!” Oh! So they wanted my father to play the “Competing Horses” song. Haha, I answered loudly: “The erhu is missing, my dad hid it so even I couldn’t find it.” Hehe, I thought to myself, a pity that my piano’s too big to hide. Actually, my father is easy to be satisfied - one performance to add to the fun was enough for him. He doesn’t have the desire to play regularly, and of course doesn’t have a whole lot of time to practice. But I know when he can’t fight his own passion, he still secretly practices.

2. After the performance, waiting for my autographs was a huge line that extended all the way outside the door. A little girl asked me for the towel I used. I said to her, “It’s on the piano. You can take it.” Actually, my towel is always snatched by some quick-acting fans after every performance, leaving me no chance to get it by myself.

3. After signing the seemingly millions of autographs, my right hand was stiff, so finally I switched to my left hand - a good way to solve the problem, huh? Pianists should use both right and left hands flexibly! Signing with both hands? Not a problem! At last, both of my hands all got worn out, so I signed a couple by holding the pen in my mouth, which I personally thought was a pretty good job.

Oh, I have just thought of something very delightful and important that I would like to share with everyone. On the April 20th, I was invited to the White House to attend the welcoming party for Chinese chairman Hu Jintao. It took me three and a half hours to make it to D.C. that morning.

Away abroad, in a very special and important occasion, meeting with the chairman and the ministers, my excitement was too great to describe… One interesting moment - seeing Ms. Rice and me standing together, Minister Li Zhaoxing joked to us, “When are you going to perform together with 2 pianos? How far are you going to sit from each other when you play?” Ms. Rice answered humorously, “I’d prefer a duo, since that way we can sit closer.” Everyone was laughing. President Bush also invited me, “Hey buddy! Come more often to the White House and try our chef’s special!”

This trip to the White House was really fun and relaxing, not only did I not have to play any music, I could sit back and enjoy the wonderful live Bluegrass performance. They were superb! They displayed great variety of musical talents, just like America’s mixed culture.

I met Michelle Kwan at the Party, she suggested that we work together on a program combining the piano and ice-skating, which I thought was pretty creative.

After the welcoming party for President Hu, I took off immediately for Virginia for a scheduled concert. As I barely had enough time to get there, I rushed the taxi driver. He ended up getting lost and finally got there - in three and a half hours! There were only ten minutes left to the curtain time, yet I couldn’t find the backstage door, so I rushed in from the front door, dragging my luggage along. The audience spotted me and found it amusing, “Hurry up! You’re late!” Oh God! Rushing into backstage, I went out to the stage as soon as I changed to concert attire, not even having time to go to the restroom. This was my first time being in such hurry for any concert, and hopefully my last, too.

There’s another interesting thing to share! At the interaction with students of Princeton, two students left me strong impressions. One was a boy who played with his flippers on. This alone would be pretty “noticeable”, yet the most unexpected was yet to come - his flippers came off when he was pedaling! Another little boy was very direct with his question, “How much do you make?” “Can we discuss this later in private?” I said. I then asked him, “How much do you want to make?” The kid answered without hesitation, “100 million!” I said, “Not bad… That was big ambition! Good luck!” After the event, I looked around and failed to find him again in the crowd. He was such an interesting kid!

Thanks for the support and all the messages left on my blog. I’ll have pictures put on later.

(Original entry written by Lang Lang in Chinese on 4/28/2006)

Translate: harpplayer; Final Edit: Gnol


Blogger Gary Freedman said...

I survived the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 in the South Pacific. Can you get us some help? We're desperate!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're one genius, I have to say. amazing how you find so much time doing so many things, and now writing a blog... Glad to see that you're quite human, lol. Good job! Keep learning and living and always bring us better music!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Dino said...

Thanks for being close with your fans. Come to Macedonian some day!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Krešo said...

hey maestro Lang Lang!! I just want to tell you BIG THANK YOU for your wonderfull concert in Zagreb, Croatia, where you played Chopin's First Concerto in e-minor. I enjoyed in performance with 100% of my body and this is a expierence which I'll remebrer for wholle my life! I also have to tell you that you are really popular here in Zagreb-everybody are talking about you, people are buying your CDs.. so, thank you for you visit and I hope that Croatian public will have oportunity to see you as soon as possible (maybe on some recital?) THANKS for your blog and HUGGGEEEEE HELLO FROM CROATIA!!!:)

4:16 PM  
Anonymous your admirer said...

WOW! you've got an interesting life! I'm a hard-core supporter of yours from NY. will go to your woodstock concert soon!

5:35 PM  

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