Hello everyone,

Despite only one-and-a-half days of rehearsal, Anna, Charlie, Jingyi, Lang Lang, and my concerts in NYC and Costa Mesa CA were a big success! In both concerts, the whole audience stood up and cheered! We got called back for bows several times, and at Carnegie we all received several flowers. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get a good video for either concert, but Anna has a video up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QM6-6Dy3Wc. I did grab several photos though, and I’ll add those to my photo gallery soon. I do have some of the rehearsal videos, and I will upload them on YouTube soon.

During the first rehearsal at Steinway Hall in New York, Anna and I, who had previously rehearsed together, managed to stay together with Jinyi and Charlie, who had also played together. Later that day, we rehearsed more in The Juliard School. Just as we were going to grab some dinner at a restaurant, we got an urgent phone call. Lang Lang wanted us back at Juliard in five minutes! Everyone raced back in record time and managed to get there. Lang Lang was very enthusiastic, though, and we learned a lot! Gary Graffman then came and gave us lessons. He was very energetic and listened to us three times! Our performance couldn’t have been better, and when we were done, Lang Lang called me and asked, “How does it feel to play at Carnegie Hall for the second time?” Out of nowhere, I responded, “Carnegie Hall is where you turn from a person playing piano to a pianist.” This got the audience very excited and we all felt good afterward. Read the New York Times’ article on this concert here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/arts/music/29lang.html.

The next week, Anna and I were flown to California. The weather there was much nicer than it is in Boston! We did not get much time to rehearse, but at the dress rehearsal the next day, everything went well. We also got to have lunch with Lang Lang and the other performers. The final concert was great, and we got a standing ovation. During the intermission, Lang Lang went to us and gave each kid a Lang Lang scarf! (Click here to see it) When we all went back on stage to give final bows at the end of the concert, we all wore our new scarfs. When we got back to the hotel, we went to grab a 12-AM dinner. The next day, we flew back home.

All of this was very fun (and exhausting) and we all are very pleased with the outcome of these two concerts. I am grateful to Lang Lang for giving all of us this opportunity. Back to practicing!

-Derek