Celebrated young pianist Lang Lang performed last night at Bass Hall. The Dallas Morning News’ classical music critic Scott Cantrell does not share the popular adoration of Lang’s skills. I saw a Lang performance with the San Antonio Symphony several years ago and also found him surprisingly ham-fisted but chalked it up to youthful spirits and figured he’d get some needed polish.
Now comes the next musical prodigy, Conrad Tao, and the Wall Street Journal’s Barbara Jepson examines the pitfalls, pressures and payoffs facing today’s precocious classical musician:
Of course, the prodigy label is fraught with complications. It attracts media attention and audiences, enhancing the appeal of exceptionally talented youngsters to concert presenters. Yet it repels many critics, mindful of the harm that has come to some prodigies. Not surprisingly, Mr. Tao’s promotional materials reflect the dichotomy. His Web site biography quotes a critic who hailed him as “the most exciting prodigy to ever come my way.” His festival concert bio shuns the “P” word but notes his age and prodigy qualifications in the very first sentence: “. . . he was found playing children’s songs on the piano at about 18 months.”