Despite being bitten five times by mosquitoes since arriving in Sardinia, Lang Lang said he felt great ahead of his last Italian performance of the year. And that was good news for the lucky few who were able to witness the private event, hosted on wednesday by Hublot, on the Marina of Porto-Cervo. In an exclusive interview given that afternoon, the Chinese concert pianist told us how his emotional state dictates his performances.
You’ll be playing on an unusual stage tonight, on the Marina of Port-Cervo. How do you prepare for such a concert?
When I am walking up to the stage, I am in a different zone. Whether you’re sad, happy, overwhelmed, surprised, or feel love or hate; everything needs to come out. A performance that has no mistake but no emotion isn’t art.
When does it become art?
Most of the pieces that I play are what we call ‘timeless pieces.’ They are already from a different century. But they’re of such high quality that they will never go out of fashion. As an artist, I try to call the soul of those pieces and bring them back to life. The challenge is to figure out how to do that every time, because each moment is unique. It’s a spiritual exercise.
When was your last epiphany?
Recently I played in Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors. It was unbelievable. It has such an incredible mood, and I played at sunset and the chandeliers were changing colors as I was playing. I looked around, took it all in, and escaped into another world.
And when you’re not playing, is it possible to do the same?
I really treasure my time, because I don’ have much of it. And when I do, my favorite thing to do is to take a nap. I just shut down for a little bit and that really helps before a concert. I simply cannot play without a nap. I need it to get to the right spiritual level.
You recently joined Hublot as an official ambassador, a first for a classical musician. How does that feel?
As an artist, I really appreciate what they are doing. They are artists themselves. Of course, we know there are many more watch brands out there. But Hublot is so confident. There does not seem to be a rule they cannot break. And you need to be brave in today’s world. You can’t be afraid of what others think of you, otherwise you lock yourself into a box which you will never get out of.
Do artists lack bravery today?
Perhaps. Many people are afraid of classical music because they think it has to be traditional. It’s been there for so many years, so there is a fear you’ll be thrown out if you change anything. But then why even go into the arts? This space belongs to creative people. The most important thing is to understand and respect the rules. But there is no law in music.
What’s the next rule you’ll be breaking?
You may be hearing from me, or hearing me play, in a watch in the near future…