Here's what the Dallas Morning News had to say about a recent performance by pianist Haochen Zhang: "He had the spiky brilliance where called for, and the cadenzas were high drama. Zhang ripped into the finale at a pace the Chicago Symphony Orchestra would be hard-pressed to match."
Not six months ago, the 19-year-old Zhang became the youngest winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition's ultra-prestigious gold medal. He was also the medal's first-ever Chinese recipient.
His teacher, Gary Graffman, likens young Zhang's skill level to that of one of his most famous students, Lang Lang.
The native of Shanghai was playing recitals of Bach, Mozart and Haydn at the age of 5; he debuted with an orchestra at 6. Five years later, he toured his homeland for the first time.
Zhang was 12 when he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the event. At 18, he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra, performing Mozart's D minor Concerto K.466.
Zhang's biography explains that the young musician also excels at ping pong and snooker, and enjoys writing poetry and composing and improvising popular music
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St. Tickets are $12.50-$35; $2 for music students and teachers. A presentation of the Savannah Concert Association. See www.savannahconcertassociation.com.
Like most of the Southern California singer/songwriters who became superstars and guiding lights in the early 1970s, Browne's fan base, and record sales, have dwindled; it's pretty much down to hearing "Doctor My Eyes" and "Running on Empty" once in a blue moon on Classic Rock radio. But this rare solo acoustic show is an opportunity to hear one of the original masters doing what he does best, like he's in your living room. His first three albums - Jackson Browne, For Everyman and Late For the Sky - remain bright and shining examples of the way popular music - for the briefest of moments - once found a way to cut though all the bullshit and just communicate. Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end. Listen & learn: www.jacksonbrowne.com. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, Johnny Mercer Theatre (in the Savannah Civic Center), 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. Tickets $36.50-$59.50.
ROUNDHOUSE BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL
Cyril Neville (of New Orleans' legendary Neville Brothers) and guitarist Bernard Allison headline this annual fundraiser for the Coastal Heritage Society. There's two nights of tuneage, lots of good eats, steam locomotive rides, blacksmithing demos and more, and all proceeds go towards educational programming and preservation of Savannah's historic sites. Tickets are $12 each night, $20 for a two-night pass,, at the gate or online at www.roundhousebluesandbbq.com. Dig in 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14 at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, 601 W. Harris St.
ANGRY MONKEY PROJECT
There's a funny audio-only clip on YouTube, with standup comedian Patton Oswalt picking on people in his audience. He finds a guy that he decides looks like a musician - and he's right - and he asks he guy the name of his band. When the response is offered, it's Angry Monkey Project, which causes the snarky and sarcastic Oswalt to erupt in laughter. "Hi, we're Angry Monkey Project," the comedian says, "With our new single, Flingin' Poop." This event has a more-than-tenuous connection to Savannah, because AMP - which is based in Charleston - includes drummer Bob Hack and bassist Derek Huff, who were longtime members of the beloved local band Liquid Ginger, plus current LG guitarist Rick Betz. Birmingham's Patrick Travis sings and plays guitar. Like LG, the Monkey Men specialize in rock ‘n' roll classics and left-field covers, with an added emphasis on southern rock and blues. For a while, the two bands actually co-existed, but AMP split in 2004 - this is their "reunion tour." Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/angrymonkeyproject. At 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at Rock House Tybee, 1518 Butler Ave., Tybee Island.
After a brief and unsuccessful stint as a Geffen Records artist, Hilton Head native Trevor Hall has released an appealing, self-titled CD on Vanguard. His music is a sort of spiritually-energized reggae rock, not unlike that of Savannah's own Passafire, or Michael Franti & Spearhead - like Franti's best stuff, it'll get you dancing, singing along, and thinking about the world in which we live. "Unity," the Trevor Hall album's standout track, was co-composed with the rockin' rabbi Matisyahu - who duets on the high-energy song - as a reaction to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Listen & learn: www.travorhallmusic.com. At 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $10.