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Lang Lang solo recital sells out UK’s biggest hall in 48 hours

It’s a solo recital of Mozart and Chopin, scheduled for November.  Nothing flashy or crossover.

It went on sale at the end of the year. Five thousand tickets to sell. All gone in two days. So now he’s slotted in a repeat performance.


UPDATE: The organisers held back details of the first rush until today, when a second date was added.






Royal Albert Hall presents: 

Lang Lang In-The-Round: 17 November 2013


Since going on sale in November, and even though just under a year away, tickets for classical pianist Lang Lang’s solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall on November 15th 2013 sold out within 48 hours, a record for a recital by any classical musician at the venue in recent times. As a result and due to phenomenal demand, the Hall has added another date on November 17 2013. In an age where pop and rock stars dominate with sell-out concerts and devoted fan bases, Lang Lang’s influence is firmly establishing the crossover appeal classical music can have in popular modern culture and is taking the genre to new heights.


Lang Lang has appeared in Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and in 2008, over four billion people viewed his performance in the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. In July 2012 he carried the Olympic torch in London prior to the opening of the 2012 London Games. His influence has inspired over 40 million Chinese children to learn to play classical piano – a phenomenon which lead to The Today Show to coin the phrase “the Lang Lang effect” which is evidently as strong as ever.


Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Albert Hall said, “Selling out the Royal Albert Hall a year in advance inside 48 hours is extraordinary for any show but simply unprecedented for a classical recital in recent times.  It’s fantastic that Lang Lang is making classical music is so popular and we’re delighted to be able to be able to add this extra performance as a result so his many London and UK fans have another chance to hear him.”


These concerts follow his sold-out Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle at the Hall in 2012 and the recent release of his latest album, The Chopin Album, which is out now. They are presented by the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Hall’s growing commitment to promote more events itself and provide new and diverse visitor experiences for as wide a range of music lovers as possible. As a charity it looks to provide maximum public benefit and support and contribute to the cultural life of the country for future generations.





Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, KV 283
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major, KV 282
Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, KV 310


Frédéric Chopin
Chopin Ballade No. 1 Op 23 in G minor
Chopin Ballade No. 2 Op 38 in F Major
Chopin Ballade No. 3 Op 47 in A flat
Chopin Ballade No. 4 Op 52 in F minor


Notes to editor:


For more information or requests for interviews, please contact Sean Carrigan on 020 7959 0531 or


Listings details:

Lang Lang at the Royal Albert Hall

Friday 15 November, 7.30pm SOLD OUT

Sunday 17 November, 3pm  EXTRA DATE ADDED

Tickets: £29.50- £55 (plus booking fee)

Box Office: 020 7589 8212 or book online at

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  1. Sean Gray says:

    It would be far more interesting to know what you think this event signifies, or your thoughts on Lang Lang’s art. On its own, the fact that his Albert Hall concert has sold out is of little significance to all of us bar the marketing executives.

    • Sean,

      Madonna could sell much more and faster. So, even Marketing executives think this sold out of a little significance. They do not care besides the Golden Egg Goose.

      That’s the only thing I can agree with then. Madonna is far better (Concerning Marketing Strategies – Take it easy L2 vividly supporters).

    • There used to be an American pianist, hugely popular, who performed under the name “Liberace”. Classically trained, and quite capable of making a name for himself as a virtuoso classical pianist, he was already doing crossover back in the 1930′s and 40′s:

      The story goes like this: When asked about his reaction to some bad reviews he received in an important newspaper, he replied: “I cried all the way to the bank”. Could be that Paderewski said it first, but I remember it being attributed to Liberace.

      Lang Lang obviously has his following, regardless of what we or anyone else might think about his artistry. He would probably give the same reply to that question.

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        Little known fact: the Liberace Foundation has provided scholarships for pianists at many of the best conservatories in the USA. I do remember him making that “bank” statement in the 1950s or 60s. There is apparently a biopic on Liberace (of Polish origin, I believe) in the works starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon !

        Wasn’t Paderewski’s most famous quote concerning his attendance accompanied by Mischa Elman at Heifetz’s debut recital in Carnegie Hall? Elman said: “Don’t you think it’s very warm in here tonight, Ignace?” “Not for pianists, my dear Mischa” replied Paderewski.

        • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

          PS: American born of a Polish mother and an Italian father.

        • “Wasn’t Paderewski’s most famous quote concerning his attendance accompanied by Mischa Elman at Heifetz’s debut recital in Carnegie Hall? Elman said: “Don’t you think it’s very warm in here tonight, Ignace?” “Not for pianists, my dear Mischa” replied Paderewski.”

          I think that remark was attributed to the pianist Leopold Godowsky … at least I remember reading that in Gary Graffman’s remarkable book “I Really Should Be Practising”.

          Thanks for the detail about scholarships. I had forgotten that he had donated a scholarship fund at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore where I went to school (now the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University).

          • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

            After exhaustive bibliographic research (5 minutes), I can’t find the quote in the 1981 Graffman tome (“I Really Should be Practicing [sic]“) which has an excellent index “cast of characters.” After intensive internet “googling” which lasted 3 minutes, I concede that most sources attribute the quote “Not for pianists” to Godowsky (NYT in the Heifetz obituary from 1987, for example), although Rubenstein is also mentioned by less reliable sources. BTW, Graffman claims to have kicked Godowsky in the gut (page 40) before playing for him at age 7. I think you subconsciously brought G2 into the discussion because he was L2′s teacher in the USA. I wrongly brought Paderewski into the discussion because he was Liberace’s idol. There are “mea culpas” galore…

            PS: there are nasty people in the world who claim that the book (IRSBP) was really written by the woman who lives with G2, described in the book as his full-time wife, Naomi !

          • @Robert Fitzpatrick:

            You are right … I tried to find the passage last night, too (I live in Switzerland), and I was going to try Google today — but you got there first! :)

            I’m pretty sure that his book was very much a joint effort with Naomi. But almost all writers have a ghost writer, anyway … might as well keep it in the family.

          • @Robert Fitzpatrick:

            You are also correct in that the title of G2′s book uses the spelling “Practicing” instead of “Practising”. However, even in the USA it is not uncommon to use the British spelling nowadays:


            “Whilst many in the US have adopted ‘practise’ as the verb and ‘practice’ as the noun, it is acceptable to use ‘practice’ for both noun and verb in American English.

            “I must keep practising/practicing that accent.
            (both versions acceptable in American English)”

      • Richard Clayderman or Philippe Pagès probably gives the same reply to that question, for the same reasons, but starting on 1976. Almost a decade before L2 born.

        For sure Madonna gives the same reply to us. After all, we do not consider what she does really serious things, however we respect her right to do that, but just don’t ask me to listen to it, please.

      • Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:

        Great comment Robert. Maybe Lang Lang is starting his metamorphoses into a showman instead of a straight classical performer. Lots more trips to the bank being the former. Still, he will need to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe!

  2. Snotty comments flowing thick and fast, I see.

  3. Lang Lang has committed the cardinal sin with the more hairshirt of our critics. He is actually popular! He sells tickets! Something therefore must be wrong!

    I say good luck to him. I saw the TV broadcast of his Liszt from the Roundhouse. There was all sorts of multi-media but so what? I am sure that Liszt – the great showman himself – would have been delighted.

  4. As a professional pianist, I have been brainwashed by my colleagues to hate Lang Lang. I am sorry that I allowed myself to be part of that “Lang-bashing.” Truth be told, he has charisma, fleet fingers, and an openness to ideas from the greatest musicians in the world, and he is proving that he has grown as a musician, and as a savvy self-promoter. This is necessary for a huge career, which he wants. Good for him–and for music. There are plenty of boring interpreters who have gotten encomia from GRAMOPHONE magazine who are cures for insomnia, and whose “intellectualism” and “cool Nordic sound” say nothing about the Beethoven and Grieg that they play. Lang Lang has flash–but so did Horowitz. And Lang Lang is still young and developing–let him build an excited following of young people wishing to sell out the Royal Albert Hall–this excitement is GREAT for classical music. I remember when Carnegie Hall did this for Ivo Pogorelich in 1995–rare! Jealous detractors of Lang Lang should just sod off–he brings much-needed charisma to classical instrumental music. (And we need excitement in opera beyond Jonas Kaufmann and Eva Maria Westbroek and Angela Gheorghiu, too.)

    • Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

      Well said Lloyd.
      LangLang may not be to everyone’s taste, but he is talented and riding a wave of popular success at the moment.
      This is what many musicians would die for, and the mean-spirited criticism comes across as jealousy disguised as artistic sensitivity.

      • I am glad some people like Lang Lang for what he is doing for the audience. Get people hot under the collar, Mr. Lang x 2 ! And Mozart played on a concert grand in the Royal Albert Hall is just as valid as it being played on a crunchy little clavier “dans le Temps de Mozart” in some period-instrument aficionado’s home. Let the small technique of the period instrument player stay in small places. They couldn’t be heard in the King Consort’s water closet. And perhaps they should stay there.

  5. John Modell says:

    Some day Lang Lang may truly be a “great artist” and “have something to say,” if he isn’t too worn out servicing the whims of the market. In this case P. T. Barnum had it right. Personally, I’d rather hear Pressler today.

  6. This is impressive. I suppose Lang Lang is listed as a “crossover star” because he has played non-classical music in the past? By that token, would Bryn Terfel be a crossover star for all of his musical theater concert performances?

    Just because some question a musician’s skill or the public embracing him doesn’t make him a crossover artist.

  7. This huge popular response is not surprising, given the pianist’s Scottish ancestry, as attested by the lines:

    “O lang, lang may the ladies stand,

    Wi thair gold kems in their hair,

    Waiting for thair ain deir lords,

    For they’ll se thame na mair.” !

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Nice one, Roy. Does he eat Haggis with chopsticks (aka baguettes chinoises)? Gian Carlo Menotti also had Scottish roots

      I’m not sure why L2 incites so much animosity. He plays the piano rather well, dresses nicely, smiles a lot, and probably creates an interest in classical music among folks who never went to a classical solo piano recital before. No one is forcing anyone to buy tickets to his concerts or listen to his recordings (of which a few are actually rather good, I have been fooled more than once on the radio, mistaking L2 for more reputable artists, LOL).

  8. George King says:

    Who in their right mind would want to listen to anybody playing Mozart on a grand piano in the Albert Hall, let alone pay for it?

  9. well, there you are. after all your laughter about u.s. and lang lang, we give him happily to you.
    it seems you have a few brits who can’t wait; perhaps they’ll clap so much he’ll stay…

  10. In the last paragraph before the program listing quoted above, it says this: “As a charity it looks to provide maximum public benefit and support and contribute to the cultural life of the country for future generations.”

    Charity for whom? I looked up the details on the RAH website, but there was no mention of a charity. Is Lang Lang performing without fee, perhaps?

  11. Sitting at home nursing a bad cold, incapable of practising very much, I have become intrigued by the phenomenon of crossover after reading this thread and all of the comments. Today, my CD of Alexis Weissenberg arrived in which he plays his own arrangements of some chansons by Charles Trenet which he had originally recorded under the pseudonym of “Mr. Nobody”. Struggling for a career during the 1950′s when these were recorded, he didn’t publish them under his own name for fear of hurting his chances of recognition as a serious classical pianist (you can order it here: ). Also, Marc-André Hamelin has made a remarkable recording of these pieces which were never published as sheet music. He transcribed and learned them by ear.

    I think we all agree now that Lang Lang is not a crossover pianist, but he is being marketed as one. What does it actually mean to be a “crossover musician”?

    Back in the old days, when you paid for a ticket to go hear Liberace, Roger Williams, or Victor Borge — who was really an incredible musician in a class of his own, one of my favorites — you knew more or less what kind of a performance you were going to get. Most importantly, you were willing to let yourself be surprised — which certainly isn’t the case with many audiences in classical music today. Of course, going from being a classically trained pianist to an entertainer of the crossover sort is something of a one-way street. If any of those pianists mentioned had chosen to present a program such as Lang Lang has done here, I have no doubt that they would have been quite capable of performing it, and assuming that they had kept their chops up to the level they had when they were young — Liberace reportedly didn’t practise very much in his later years — it certainly would have been interesting and perhaps even very rewarding.

    But having ventured down the slippery slope, so to speak, who would have taken them seriously? And I’m sure that many of their fans would have resented the step (“Hey, we want to hear the ‘Beer Barrel Polka’ now…”) This is probably why Lang Lang has alienated a lot of listeners because he has ambitions of being a serious musician, but his performances are sometimes anything but serious (in the sense of the German “ernsthaft” as opposed to merely “ernst” — humor can also be very serious!) So there is an element of uncertainty amongst the lovers of the “real thing” (except for fans of his, for whom he can do no wrong). In this light, one can certainly understand the reservations Alexis Weissenberg had.

    Did you know that Sergei Rachmaninoff became an inspired jazz pianist in private settings? How many classical pianists can still improvise like Arthur Rubinstein did at the Steinway factory in Hamburg? (Go to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already seen it). The tradition, and acceptance, of crossover goes at least as far back as Franz Liszt when he brought opera music in the form of solo piano transcriptions to audiences who would not have easily been able to travel to hear the real thing. And we know that the great masters before that were all masters at improvisation (Bach, Mozart, etc.).

    (Oh well … back to drinking tea … and now I’m going to go listen to “Mr. Nobody” …)

    • Mr Hairgrove, best wishes for a speedy recovery, and thank you for those tidbits about Rachmaninoff.

      • Thanks! – The Weissenberg “Mr. Nobody” CD is pretty amazing, BTW. You also get some original Trenet chansons with Monsieur Trenet singing on that disc. But the piano playing is so relaxed and lyrical, plus spectacular fingerwork. Much different than most of his later playing (post-”Petrushka” film) when critics often found him cold and distant, albeit perfect — and sometimes, later on (live) he wasn’t so perfect, either.

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