He's a global sensation, with a monumental following usually reserved for rock stars and Hollywood A-listers and this month, Chinese pianist Lang Lang joins the MSO to perform Mozart in a mid-season gala event.
Lang Lang's remarkable appeal, attributed to his breathtaking technique and flamboyant performance style, has seen him rise to a level of acclaim never before seen in the world of classical piano.
In recent times, Lang Lang has performed with Billy Joel, Metallica, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock - and has a planned collaboration with Kanye West in the works.
The 36-year-old Lang Lang is set to thrill Melbourne audiences with his dazzling technique, managing the most difficult, dizzying runs and grand flourishes with seemingly staggering ease.
Conducted by Ukrainian maestro Kirill Karabits, the MSO and Lang Lang will present Mozart's Piano Concerto No.24 in C Minor. It's a piece which calls for understated virtuosity, delicacy and a deftness for rhythmic complexity.
Born in Shenyang, China, Lang Lang began piano lessons at the age of three, before moving to Beijing to study when he was just nine. He moved to the US to study in 1997, debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2001 and has enjoyed a meteoric musical rise ever since.
More than two billion people saw his performance at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and he was named as one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2009.
Lang Lang makes no apologies for his less-than-conventional style; pop-star hairdos and Versace concert attire. It's this attitude that has seen him appeal to so many young, new, classical music fans worldwide.
Dynamic conductor Kirill Karabits has worked with many of the leading European ensembles, as well as enjoying a career as a prolific opera conductor, working with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, English National Opera and the Bolshoi Theatre.
The MSO will also perform the charming overture to Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and close the evening with Rachmaninov's majestic Third Symphony, where the composer reflected on his Russian heritage to create a modernist, melancholic and ultimately ecstatic masterpiece.
Lang Lang is supported by MSO Life Members, Mr Marc Besen AC and Mrs Eva Besen AO.
Lang Lang: MSO Mid-Season Gala
Date: Thursday July 4 at 7.30pm
Venue: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Bookings: mso.com.au | 03 9929 9600
Image: Xun Chi