Pianist Lang Lang makes Jax Debut at the Symphony Gala

May 23, 2016

Jacksonville, FL (May 22, 2016) --- World renowned pianist, Lang Lang, termed the hottest artist in the classical world by the New York Times, will make his Jacksonville debut at the Jacksonville Symphony’s Gala on Friday, February 17, 2017. The announcement was made by Music Director Courtney Lewis. Lang Lang will perform Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in a Valentine’s Day program featuring both Tchaikovsky’s and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

“I'm delighted that Lang Lang will join us next for our next gala,” said Music Director Courtney Lewis.  “One of the most energetic and captivating musicians on today's stage, I know he will thrill our audiences with Bartòk's Second Piano Concerto.”

Tickets for this concert will go on sale this fall and are expected to sell-out. Season ticket subscribers will have the first option of purchasing tickets this summer before sale to the general public is opened. Details for the Gala cocktail party and dinner have not been finalized. Last year’s Gala featured violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.

In addition to featuring Lang Lang, the February 17 Gala will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Jacoby Symphony Hall, which opened in 1997 and is one of the few designated symphony halls in the southeastern United States.

“This evening will be a celebration two decades in the making,“ said Robert Massey, President and CEO of the Symphony.  “Twenty years ago the community rallied together to build a world-class performing arts venue.  Today, they can celebrate the fact that Jacoby Symphony Hall serves as home to world-class symphonic music, presented each week, in the vibrant cultural center this is downtown Jacksonville.”

The motif of Lang Lang’s musical career is “inspiration.” He inspires millions with his open-hearted, emotive playing whether in an intimate concert hall or on stage at the 2014 World Cup concert in Rio with Placido Domingo, at the 56th and 57th GRAMMY Awards two years in a row where he performed with Metallica and Pharrell Williams or the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Lang Lang began playing the piano at age three in the small Chinese town of Shenyang. He won the Shenyang Competition and gave his first public recital by the time he was five. Entering Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at age nine, he won first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians’ Competition at 13. He left for the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to train with Gary Graffman. When he was 17 he was called upon to make a dramatic last-minute substitution for the famous Andre Watts to play the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He was termed an “overnight star.”

Lang Lang was named by Time Magazine to the “Time 100” citing him as a symbol of the youth of China and its future. His passion for the piano has led Steinway Pianos to introduce a special Lang Lang Piano to China for youth education.  A force for children, he mentors prodigies, convenes 100 piano students at a time in concert and has dedicated his Lang Lang International Music Foundation to cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists.

Among his honors, he is a United Nations Messenger of Peace, one of the World Economic Forum’s 250 Young Global Leaders, a recipient of France’s Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters and has received honorary doctorates from many institutions including the Royal College of Music.

He has performed for international dignitaries including Secretary-General of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon, four U.S. presidents, presidents of France and Germany and the Diamond Jubilee celebratory concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The Jacksonville Symphony is North Florida’s leading music nonprofit offering live performances at Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and other venues throughout the area. In addition, the Symphony provides music instruction for youth and operates the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras. For more information about the Symphony, visit www.jaxsymphony.org, like them at www.Facebook.com/JaxSymphony, follow them on Twitter @jaxsymphony, on Instagram at JaxSymphony and on YouTube at JacksonvilleSymphony.