Inside the Houston Symphony

Taking you behind the music–one concert at a time!

Posts Tagged ‘Lang Lang

Is it summer already?!

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Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

This post comes from Melissa, one of our marketing directors. She lives and breathes anything having to do with special projects, including The Planets — An HD Odyssey, the summer concert series as well as our holiday concerts, to name a few. Is it summer already? Melissa’s excited for you guys to come see us!

I took my 7-year-old daughter to her first, in her words “grown-up concert” last night — Eschenbach and Lang Lang.

She’s been to many of the Sounds Like Fun! and Weatherford Family series concerts over the years. She remembers fondly when conductor Robert Franz was wheeled out on stage dressed as Toto to start the Wizard of OZ concert, and  I thought for sure her favorite piece that day would be the Orchestral Suite from the Wizard of Oz. But it turns out it was Mosolov’s Iron Foundry from Stal’ because it “sounded just like I think a factory would sound, Mom.” With that comment, I thought she’d be ready to attend a Houston Symphony evening concert.

My daughter has been taking piano lessons for almost 2 years and loves listening to classical music, mainly Baroque—because she can dance her latest ballet moves to Bach, Vivaldi and Handel. So I thought she would enjoy hearing young musicians in the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and Lang Lang.

Last night, she marveled at the speed at which the violins played Prokovfiev’s First Symphony. And we were close enough to the stage that when Lang Lang sat down to the piano she openly worried “Mom, he forgot something!”  I then explained to my young piano student that Lang Lang has memorized what he is going to play—and that comment was met with the certain all to familiar look of “are you sure?”

You may be wondering how this all ties in to the title of this blog. Well, after intently listening to Prokovfiev’s First Symphony and the first two movements of the Piano Concerto, my 7-year-old was fast asleep in her chair. As I looked over and watched her, I shook my head in wonder at how fast time flies, how another school year is almost over, how we are planning summer camps and family vacations, and how I am planning the marketing campaigns for another Symphony Summer in the City season.  I debated if I should end that last sentence with a period or an exclamation mark—-I haven’t decided how I actually feel about that just yet! You’ll have to ask me when I am working out the marketing plans for our Christmas concerts in June!

Check out the Houston Symphony website, where we’re announcing the Symphony Summer in the City schedule. You will be able to see when we are performing free concerts in a neighborhood near you as a part of our Sounds Like Fun! series and at Miller Outdoor Theatre — both for our June classical concerts and our annual 4th of July concert.

If you are anything like me, you’ll wonder “where did the time go?” But you’ve enjoyed every minute of that wild, wonderful, hectic and beautiful journey called life.

Written by Houston Symphony

April 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Classical Music’s Rockstar Invests in the Future

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When you first see him walk on stage, there’s no question that this music superstar has a flair for the flashy – right down to his footwear (custom ADIDAS sneakers, to be exact). Pianist Lang Lang commands respect wherever he goes, not only because of the magic that comes through his fingertips, but because of what he means for his generation.

At 27, he has become a bridge between old and new generations of classical music fans, and through his art and philanthropy, has truly made a difference in the lives of millions of people. The Chinese piano prodigy is a prime example of what can happen when a child is exposed to music at an early age, and then has the opportunity to explore and develop that interest.

When Lang Lang was just 3 years old, he began playing piano in his hometown of Shenyang, a city in northeastern China. By age 5, he had won his first piano competition; at 9, he started studying at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music; and by 17, was a star.

His international popularity was further cemented when he appeared during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. He has single-handedly been credited with inspiring over 40 million Chinese children to take piano lessons – a phenomenon The Today Show labeled the “Lang Lang Effect.”

Because of that success, Lang Lang has dedicated himself to a philanthropic cause very dear to his heart – one that provides musical opportunities for children who may have never otherwise had them.

The Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Inc, has enabled the pianist to “support cutting-edge philanthropy programs using music education, exposure, and outreach to deliver messages of hope and inspiration to children around the world,” according to the organization’s website.

Exposing children to music is also one of our main focuses here at the Houston Symphony. Whether it be our Symphony Detective Concerts, Explorer Concerts, inviting student musicians to perform in-hall or even going out into the community during the summer Sounds Like Fun! series, we are always trying to reiterate that Music Matters! (which, by the way, is also the name of our outreach program).

It is through these programs, that we, just like Lang Lang, are able to provide an experience for Houston-area youngsters that will leave a lasting impression – and hopefully help them unlock a hidden passion for music.

Join us this Wednesday for a one-night-only Symphony Special concert featuring the rockstar himself, Lang Lang, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra – made up of the world’s finest musicians under age 27. With former Houston Symphony Music Director Christoph Eschenbach on the podium, hear for yourself why Music Matters!

Written by Melissa S.

April 6, 2010 at 10:15 am