by Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 September 2009
For the first time in five years, Music Hall is sold out for a classical concert. On Wednesday only 14 single seats were left in the hall, which seats 3,417, for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's gala opening performance kicking off its 115th season.
"There has been an incredible amount of anticipation throughout the community over this one-night only concert," said the orchestra's president Trey Devey.
Cincinnati could be experiencing the "Lang Lang effect." The concert, including music from "West Side Story" conducted by Paavo Järvi, features Chinese megastar pianist Lang Lang (pronounced Long Long), who will perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. Lang Lang, 27, who made his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony in 2003, has achieved the kind of international fame usually reserved for rock stars.
It is also the orchestra's first "gala extravaganza" launching a season in recent memory. Orchestra fans have purchased tickets for preconcert cocktails and dinner, and a post-concert party, as well.
Lang Lang, who spoke to the Enquirer this week, said he likes to take time to see sights in each city where he performs. He went to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn., last week. He recalled spending "the whole night" at a Cincinnati shopping mall and movie theater in 2003.
"This time for sure I will find something interesting - probably go to a jazz club," said the pianist, who recently toured with jazz legend Herbie Hancock.