The pianist talks to Gramophone about his debut at the multi-arts event
The Latitude Festival is this year welcoming Lang Lang to the stage for the very first time. The classical pianist, who recently performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace, is playing against the lakeside backdrop of Latitude’s floating Waterfront Stage on Sunday July 15.
He will, he says, be performing Chopin as part of his programme: ‘Not only is Chopin very close to my heart, but it is also instantly accessible for an audience not so familiar with classical music’, he tells Gramophone.
The festival, now in its seventh year, is not predominantly known for its classical music performances, although previous events have included artists from the Royal Opera House, as well as dancers from Sadler’s Wells and English National Ballet. A solo piano recital, however, is something new for Latitude, and Lang Lang is under no illusions that it’s going to be easy. But, as he tells Gramophone, he is eager to ‘push the boundaries and bring classical music to places it hasn’t been before. Both pop music and classical music are about emotion, and therefore anyone can appreciate classical music. That’s why I love sharing it with “new” audiences.’
Other artists performing this year include Bon Iver, Elbow, Paul Weller and Grammy-nominated pianist Chilly Gonzales. While Lang Lang admits that he hopes to catch some of these acts while he’s there, his main priority is his own concert: ‘I have played outdoor performances before,’ he said. ‘They need extra special preparation in terms of acoustics but it can be done.’