Tickets & Events

Opening Night at Tanglewood with Lang Lang

Tanglewood

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA View Map

The Robert and Jane Mayer Conert

Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra open their 2018 Tanglewood season with a gala performance featuring global superstar pianist Lang Lang. Opening the concert is the overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute, followed by the composer's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491, featuring Lang Lang. Maestro Nelsons then leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5-a work Bernstein conducted three times at Tanglewood, including for his 70th-birthday weekend in 1988-which displays the composer's trademarks: an endless procession of memorable melodies, masterful and vivid use of the orchestra's full color palette, and a musical language of drama and energy.

Featured Performers

Andris Nelsons, conductor
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Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. With these positions, and in leading a pioneering alliance between two such esteemed institutions, Grammy Award-winning Nelsons is firmly underlined as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the BSO in the 2014/15 season and after one year, his contract was extended through the 2021/22 season. Last season, the BSO and Nelsons embarked on a tour to Japan together for the first time, notably with three performances in Suntory Hall. At the beginning of the 2018/19 seasons, Nelsons toured Europe together with the orchestra for the third time since Nelsons’ Music Directorship, visiting the London Proms, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris and Amsterdam. Nelsons gave his debut with the Gewandhausorchester in 2011, followed by regular performances at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig in subsequent years. In February 2018, Nelsons received the title of Gewandhauskapellmeister in a four-week inaugural festival, also marking the 275th anniversary of the orchestra. Three joint tours for the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Nelsons have been incorporated into the 2018/2019 season: two European tours, one in October 2018, including stops at London’s prestigious Royal Festival Hall, in Scandinavia and in Nelsons' native city, Riga, and the other in January 2019, to venues including the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris and Vienna’s Musikverein. The season’s third tour in May/June 2019 takes the orchestra and Nelsons to Japan and China, where they will appear together for the first time.

The 2018/19 season marks Nelsons’ final season as Artist-in-Residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and Nelsons’ first season as Artist-in-Residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Furthermore, Nelsons continues his regular collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he lead a tour through China last season in addition to his ongoing guest performances at the Musikverein in Vienna. In 2020, he will conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker’s prestigious New Year’s Day concert, broadcast to millions across the world. Throughout his career, Nelsons has established regular collaborations with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonia Orchestra. Nelsons has been a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Andris Nelsons has an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, which has paved the way for three landmark projects. Nelsons and the BSO partner on recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies, and the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. The first and second instalments have both received consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral performance, the third has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and the fourth instalment will be released in February 2019. Nelsons and the yellow label also have embarked upon a project with the Gewandhausorchester that sheds new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, and pairs these distinctive symphonic pieces with works by Wagner. The most recent release appeared in April 2018 to widespread critical acclaim. Furthermore, Nelsons will record Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 2016-2019, and will return to Vienna to perform the complete cycle in 2020, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2015, Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany 2006-2009 and Music Director of Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Lang Lang, piano
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IF ONE WORD APPLIES TO LANG LANG, TO THE MUSICIAN, TO THE MAN, TO HIS WORLDVIEW, TO THOSE WHO COME INTO CONTACT WITH HIM, IT IS "INSPIRATION". IT RESOUNDS LIKE A MUSICAL MOTIF THROUGH HIS LIFE AND CAREER.


He inspires millions with his open-hearted, emotive playing, whether it be in intimate recitals or on the grandest of stages - such as the 2014 World Cup concert in Rio, with Placido Domingo, to celebrate the final game; the 56th and 57th GRAMMY Award two years in a row, where he performed with Metallica and Pharrell Williams; the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where more than four billion people around the world viewed his performance; the Last Night of the Proms at London's Royal Albert Hall, or the Liszt 200th birthday concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Charles Dutoit which was broadcast live in more than 300 movie theaters around the United States and 200 cinemas across Europe (the first classical music cinema cast to be headlined by a solo artist). He forms enduring musical partnerships with the world's greatest artists, from conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel and Sir Simon Rattle, to artists from outside of classical music - among them dubstep dancer Marquese "nonstop" Scott, king of the crooners Julio Inglesias and jazz titan Herbie Hancock. He even builds relationships with corporations who will help him get classical music to ever-more people - And he builds cultural bridges between East and West, frequently introducing Chinese music to Western audiences, and vice versa.


Yet he never forgets what first inspired, and continues to inspire him. Great artists, above all the great composers - Liszt, Chopin and the others - whose music he now delights in bringing to others. Even that famous old Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Cat Concerto" which introduced him, as a delighted child, to the music of Liszt - and that childlike excitement at the discovery of music now surely stays with him and propels him to what he calls "his second career", bringing music into the lives of children around the world, both through his work for the United Nations and through his own Lang Lang International Music Foundation.


It takes a special kind of dedication to come from a small Chinese town Shenyang , to travel to the big city as a small child and to win the attention of the country's finest music professors. And then to leave behind your home country altogether to join the world-famous Curtis Institute of Music Philadelphia, USA. Lang Lang achieved all of these early on - he started playing piano aged three, won the Shenyang Competition and gave his first public recital by the time he was five, entered Beijing's Central Music Conservatory aged nine, won first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians' Competition and playing the complete Chopin Etudes at the Beijing Concert Hall at 13. He left for America, Curtis and the great piano teacher Gary Graffman and when his moment came, he was ready. That moment happened when, aged 17, he was called upon to make a dramatic last-minute substitution for the famous Andre Watts to perform in the "Gala Of The Century", playing a Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It made him what journalists like to call an "overnight star" and the world's finest concert halls quickly beckoned.


Today, his resume reads like a bestseller (and indeed his auto biography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, has been published by Random House in eleven languages, and was released to critical acclaim - and as part of his commitment to the education of children, he released a version specifically for younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys). He has been heralded as the "hottest artist on the classical music planet" by the New York Times, has played sold out concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic orchestras.


Time Magazine has included Lang Lang in the "Time 100", the magazine's annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, naming him as a symbol of the youth of China, and its future. Lang Lang is the cultural ambassador of the cities of Shenzhen and Shenyang. And if the Chinese passion for piano isn't solely due to him, he has played no small part as a role model to encourage more than 40 million Chinese children to learn to play the instrument - a phenomenon coined by The Today Show as "the Lang Lang effect." Steinway Pianos, for the first time in their century-and-a-half-long history, named a piano model after a single artist when they introduced "The Lang Lang Piano" to China. That piano, specially designed for early music education, is now on its fifth iteration.

And the child Lang Lang was and who, perhaps, is always with him, would surely have approved of the way he gives back to children around the world. His volunteer activities include mentoring rising young talented pianists, convening 100 piano students at a time in concert, performing for sick children in hospi­tals, delivering classical music recitals in underserved and remote communities, and donating his musical talents to raise awareness of other charitable causes.  These charitable efforts have led to the launch of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, with its goals of cultivating tomorrow's top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology, and building a young audience through live music experiences. The Financial Times described Lang Lang as "evangelical in his efforts to spread the popularity of classical music." And in May 2009, Lang Lang and three chosen young scholars from the foundation - aged between 6 and 10 years old - performed together on The Oprah Winfrey Show on "Oprah's Search for the World's Most Smartest and Most Talented Kids." 


In 2011,  Lang Lang Music World was launched, a multi-functioning arts complex located in Shenzhen and Chongqing, China, where children can go to receive piano education, participate in master classes and competitions, attend concerts and purchase educational products. Lang Lang himself continues to give master classes regularly throughout the world at the invitation of the most prestigious music institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Hanover Conservatory, as well as all the top conservatories in China where he holds honorary professorships. Elite universities such as Oxford, Harvard and Columbia have invited him to give talks.


Lang Lang enjoys reaching audiences of all sizes and few come bigger than that of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, of which Lang Lang was the first official Ambassador - a role, created by YouTube and Google that combined two of his great loves, music and outreach through technology. More traditionally, tens of thousands of people have enjoyed Lang Lang's performances in open-air concerts in parks and venues around the globe, including Central Park in New York City, Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Theaterplatz in Dresden and Derby Park in Hamburg. Lang Lang participated in the opening concert at Munich's Olympic Stadium with Mariss Jansons, marking the commencement of the World Cup Games. In celebratory concerts for the closing of 2008 Euro Cup finals, Lang Lang played with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta in front of Schönbrunn Palace. And he marked the New Year's Eve gala opening of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing with another great conductor, Seiji Ozawa.


In December 2007, Lang Lang was guest soloist at the Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm, an event attended by Nobel Laureates and members of the Royal Family. He performed as soloist in Oslo for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony and concert for President Barack Obama.


Lang Lang has made numerous TV appearances, including The Today Show,  the Tonight Show with Jay LenoGood Morning AmericaCBS Early Show, 60 MinutesWetten Dass and El Número Uno  among many others. He has been featured on every major TV network and in news and lifestyle magazines worldwide, including such diverse publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, Vogue, The Times, Financial Times, GQCosmopolitan, Die WeltReader's Digest and People.


As well as President Obama, Lang Lang has performed for numerous international dignitaries including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, President Xi Jin-Ping and former President Hu Jin-Tao of China, President Horst Koehler of Germany, H.R.H. Prince Charles, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Francois Hollande, Queen Beatrix and King Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Poland President Lech Kaczynski. Of many landmark events, he was honored to perform for President Barack Obama and former President Hu Jin-Tao at the White House State Dinner, as well as at the Diamond Jubilee celebratory concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.


Wherever he can, Lang Lang tries to give back. In 2013, he was designated by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace focusing on global education. Lang Lang has contributed and worked to raise funds and awareness for earthquake relief efforts in China and Haiti. These efforts included auctioning the red Steinway piano played during his 2008 New York Central Park concert, donating the net proceeds to the American Red Cross China Earthquake fund, and organizing a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, donating the net proceeds to UNICEF's Earthquake Relief Fund in Haiti. He also currently serves on the Weill Music Institute Advisory Committee as part of Carnegie Hall's educational program and is the youngest member of Carnegie Hall's Artistic Advisory Board. In 2015, he played on the UN Day concert to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations, and performed a festive outdoor concert to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the City of Havana's founding; he donated his service as a gift to the people of Havana.


Honors include being added as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders picked by the World Economic Forum and receiving the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos. In May 2011, Lang Lang received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the Royal College of Music, and received his second Honorary Doctorate in Musical Arts at the Manhattan School of Music in May 2012. Most recently he received Honorary Doctor Degree in Fine Arts from New York University. In December 2011, he was honored the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China. More recently, he has received the highest German civilian honor, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, in recognition of his distinguished services to music and, in January 2013, he was presented with the Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters, by the French Minister of Culture. In 2014, he received the Ondas Award in Spain and Bambi Award in Germany. In 2015, he became the first ever Ambassador of the Château de Versailles in Paris.


He is one of the world's most prolific and highest-profile recording artists. Featured soloist on the Golden Globe® winning score for the film The Painted Veil, composed by Alexandre Desplat, he can also be heard on the soundtracks of The Banquet,  composed by Tan Dun, and of My Week With Marilyn. All of his albums have entered the top classical charts as well as many pop charts around the globe. In 2007, he was nominated for a Grammy® Award, becoming the first Chinese artist to be nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist.


In February 2010, Lang Lang joined Sony Music Entertainment as an exclusive recording artist; his first album with Sony featured a live recording of his 2010 recital at Vienna's legendary Musikverein (including a segment filmed in 3D). His next CD, "Liszt, My Piano Hero" and DVD "Liszt, Now!" celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the great composer, while 2012 saw the release of "The Chopin Album",  2013 a recording with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker of two masterpiece piano concertos of the 20th century, Prokofiev No.3 and Bartok 2, and 2014 an album devoted to the world's favorite composer Mozart, his recently released album entitled "Lang Lang in Paris" features Tchaikovsky's Seasons and 4 Chopin Scherzos.

Lang Lang, piano
Program Notes Audio
MOZART - Overture to The Magic Flute (4 min)
MOZART - Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491 (30 min)
TCHAIKOVSKY - Symphony No. 5 (47 min)
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