You may have heard Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 a million times, but if you’ve never heard Lang Lang hit it, you’ve never really heard it. The Chinese-born virtuoso is like a diver, going deep down into the music and bringing all sorts of hidden treasures to light. The result is Chopin at his most passionate and most profound. The 20-something 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 is very down-to-earth about his calling. “Classical-music prodigies are like pop stars,” he’s said. “If they develop right, they’ll be okay. But if they don’t keep developing, they’ll be finished.” Fortunately, Lang keeps developing. This week, he performs the Chopin concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Vassily Sinaisky, on a program that also includes Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 8-10, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 11, 2 p.m. (323) 850-2000 or www.laphil.com.
—Mary Beth Crain