Marc-André Hamelin, beloved by Seattle audiences following two enthusiastically received appearances at Benaroya Hall since 2015, returns Thursday with a program that includes pieces by Franz Liszt, Samuel Feinberg and Leopold Godowsky.
Filling in for ailing pianist Lang Lang this Thursday in Seattle is not Marc-André Hamelin’s first good deed this week. This past Sunday he replaced Yefim Bronfman for a Beethoven piano concerto with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina.
“Both engagements have interrupted a long break before my October 11 performance at the Orchestre de Paris,” Hamelin, 56, says by phone from his home in Boston. “But this Seattle recital is a chance for me to try out a program I’m playing at Carnegie Hall on November 1st. Please don’t get the impression I’m using you, though. Seattle deserves much better than that.”
Lang Lang, celebrated as one of the greatest pianists of our time — if sometimes knocked for excessive showmanship — was originally booked by Seattle Symphony to play as part of the Distinguished Artists Series. But last month the native of Shenyang, China announced that an inflammation in his left arm was forcing him to cancel.
‘Marc-André Hamelin,’ 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept.28 at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $25-$123 (www.seattlesymphony.org or 206-215 4747)
Hamelin, beloved by Seattle audiences following two enthusiastically received appearances at Benaroya Hall since 2015, stepped in, giving us one more opportunity to be moved by this musician’s combination of technical brilliance and poetry. Despite a strong, pre-existing relationship with local fans however, is there a particular burden when one superstar replaces another, knowing some ticket holders might be disappointed?
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“Of course people are going to have expectations. Some will be disappointed, some not, and some will fall between,” Hamelin said. “I hope as many people as possible will want to jump in and experience what someone else has to offer. My first instinct is to share with audiences my enthusiasm, my repertoire loves, and to celebrate the miracle of human creativity.”
When Lang Lang’s cancellation was announced, a small number of patrons returned or exchanged tickets. Seattle Symphony says that number is comparable to their other concerts, as some ticket holders cancel for a…