Lang Lang coming to Lexington in 2013

Lang Lang in a 2008 performance with the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Dresden, Germany. © AP photo by Matthiias Rietschel.

We barely have 2012 out of the gate and Singletary Center for the Arts director Michael Grice has already announced what very well may be the classical music event of 2013: Pianist Lang Lang will perform with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 9, 2013.

This is the latest in a line of classical music superstars the Singletary Center has booked and paired with UK’s student orchestra, including last March’s performance by violin legend Itzhak Perlman.

“This is a major effort of ours to bring to audiences of Central Kentucky the best talent we can possibly bring them,” Grice said Monday afternoon. “Putting this talent with the UK Symphony Orchestra is an added bonus.”

Called “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times and known for his flamboyant style, Lang Lang, 29, started studying piano at age 3 and had his first public recital at 5. The Shenyang, China, native went on to elite piano study and won numerous competitions including the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians at age 13.

In his 20s, he has become one of classical music’s biggest names, particularly after his performance in the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other high-profile appearances include the 2008 Grammy Awards, at which he played George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock, and a 2011 White House state dinner in honor of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

His latest album, Liszt: My Piano Hero, was released by Sony Masterworks in October.

The February 2013 concert will be Lang Lang’s first performance in Central Kentucky, but he will play with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 27 and 28.

Grice said he is seeking concert sponsors in an effort to keep tickets prices as low as possible. Prices have not been announced.

The first tickets for the Lexington concert will be available to patrons at the Feb. 11 performance by pianist Natasha Paremski and the UK Symphony. Ticket holders to that show will be able to buy Lang Lang tickets that night, but only at the Singletary Center’s ticket office. There will also be a drawing at that concert for four prime tickets to see Lang Lang.

After the Feb. 11 event, the Lang Lang tickets will go off sale until the entire 2012-13 Singletary Center season is announced late this spring or in early summer.

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