Lang Lang Opens Carnegie Season With a Gershwin Gimmick

New York Times
10/5/2017

 Maxim Lando, Lang Lang and Chick Corea, collaborators in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall. Credit: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Maxim Lando, Lang Lang and Chick Corea, collaborators in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall. Credit: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Carnegie Hall’s opening night gala is both a festive concert and an important fund-raiser. Programs typically include some audience favorites or lighter works, which is understandable.

The centerpiece of this season’s opening on Wednesday, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, was Gershwin’s enduringly popular “Rhapsody in Blue.” But with Carnegie’s blessing, the performers turned this classic into a shameless gimmick.

The problems stemmed from the superstar pianist Lang Lang. Last April Mr. Lang announced that he had injured his left arm and would have to withdraw from months of performances.

But as Clive Gillinson, Carnegie’s executive and artistic director, explained in an interview, Mr. Lang was distressed at the prospect of missing his planned performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody.”