I heard him being described as 'The JLo of the piano' and was hooked! Zubin Mehta conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Homi Bhabha Auditorium was the initial attraction. But with the 26 -year- old musical genius from China thrown in, wild horses couldn't have kept me away. Described by the New York Times as the " hottest artist on the classical music planet," Lang Lang is a phenomenon. He started playing the piano at age 3. By the age of 5 he had won his first prize and given a public performance.By 17 he was a star. Over 5 billion people viewed his performance at the Beijing Olympics. Some of you may have watched him at Obama's Inaugural.... but one has to be right there when he hits the keys to understand - no, to feel - the magic. Understand the passion. It is powerful enough to make you want to rip out your heart and lay it at his feet! Such virtuosity, such confidence, such showmanship! To hear him play Chopin (Piano Concerto No.2 in F Minor Op.21), is to hear a personal angel caressing the ivory. Lang Lang plays with his heart, not fingers. He emotes as he plays... his facial expressions and body language are a treat to watch. That's the big difference. I don't know how those slightly stuffy Austrians in the orchestra reacted to him, but it was obvious from the rapturous response he received from the doting desi audience that Mumbai had fallen head over heels in love with the man often called " the most exciting keyboard talent in the world..." I noticed Aamir Khan along with his wife, the delightful Kiran Rao, giving him a standing ovation. We exchanged notes a little later, and the expression in Aamir's eyes said it all. Perhaps Aamir will be inspired enough to play a musician in his next movie?? While on Aamir, it is really so refreshing to see the man who has been voted 'the most powerful person in Bollywood' behave like a regular guy at all times. Here was was mingling easily and casually with the snooty Mumbai elite. No fuss. No atempt at drawing attention to himself. Aamir was clad in a trendy jacket. Lang Lang in a bandgala ( Mao suit?).
At a Moet and lobster dinner following the concert, Zubin took time off to thank the sponsors - Rolex - as only he can, by being direct and unembarrassed. Lang Lang, who had stuck to Indian cuisine during his stay at the Taj, remained low key, even as a few members of the orchestra improvised a version of 'Happy Birthday' and sang for a colleague. Our hosts, Dorab and Verra Randeria ( second generation Rolex representatives), made sure all was well, adopting discretion that emerges from generations of quiet refinement. Aaah.... in these troubled and awful times, nothing like divine music to soothe the soul. Music and Moet .