Developing Notions

Anything Lang Lang decides to tackle promises fireworks. The Chinese piano superstar has so much charisma that he used to be accused of overacting, although he's managed to rise above that criticism with playing that is tonally gorgeous, technically awesome and spiritually uplifting. If Lang tends to sway and sigh at the keyboard and shake his spiky locks, well, the guy can't help it. He just loves what he's doing, and so do audiences. Lang, who's been performing since age 5, acquired divine status when he won First Prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition and tossed off the complete 24 Chopin Etudes, a feat that would challenge any pianist, at the age of 13. But he's very down-to-earth about his calling. "Classical music prodigies are like pop stars," he's said. "If they develop right, they'll be OK. But if they don't keep developing, they'll be finished." Fortunately, Lang keeps developing. This week, he shows off his awesome technique, which ranges from delicately pristine to powerfully passionate, in a program that includes Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 13 in B-flat major; Schumann's Fantasie in C major; Liszt's Isoldens Liebestod: Schlufszene aus Tristan und Isolde and the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat major; and Granados' Goyescas, H. 64, along with a selection of traditional Chinese works from Dragon Songs, his 2006 album. Royce Hall, UCLA campus; Sat., Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; $40-$88. (310) 825-2101, www.uclalive.org.
Sat., Nov. 1, 8 p.m., 2008