Lang Lang (pianist)

Lang Lang (pianist)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Lang Lang

Img_capt = March 2008
Background = classical_ensemble
Birth_name =
Born = birth date and age|1982|6|14
Shenyang, China
Died =
Instrument = Piano
Genre =
Occupation = Pianist
Years_active =

Lang Lang (zh-cp|郎朗|Láng Lǎng) (born June 14, 1982) is a Chinese pianist from Shenyang in Liaoning, China.

Early years

Lang Lang was two years old when he saw Tom playing piano in The Cat Concerto, a Tom and Jerry cartoon on TV (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor composed by Franz Liszt). According to Lang Lang, this first contact with Western music was what motivated him to learn the piano. [cite episode |title=Lang Lang's Journey to Beethoven|series= Morning Edition|serieslink= Morning Edition|credits= |network= National Public Radio |airdate= 2007-05-08 |url=] He began lessons at age three with Professor Zhu Ya-Fen. At the age of five, he won the Shenyang Piano Competition and played his first public recital.Stevenson, Joseph. [ Lang Lang biography] . Allmusic]

When he was nine years old, Lang Lang was nearing his audition for Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music, but he had difficulties with his lessons, and was expelled from his piano tutor's studio for lack of talent." [ Lang Lang looks back] ". "Billboard"; 2/18/2006, Vol. 118 Issue 7, p46-47, 2p, 2c] His music teacher at his state school noticed Lang Lang's sadness, and decided to comfort him by playing a record of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 10 in C Major, K. 330; she asked him to play with the slow movement. This reminded Lang of his love of the instrument. "Playing the K. 330 brought me hope again," recalled Lang years later.

Lang finally entered the Conservatory, studying under Professor Zhao Ping-Guo. In 1993, Lang won the Xing Hai Cup Piano Competition in Beijing, being awarded first prize for outstanding artistic performance at the Fourth International Young Pianists Competition in Germany the next year. In 1995, at 13 years of age, he played the Op. 10 and Op. 25 Chopin Etudes, at Beijing Concert Hall and, in the same year, won first place at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians' Competition in Japan, playing Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert broadcast by NHK Television. [ Lang Lang biography] at Telarc] At 14 he was a featured soloist at the China National Symphony's inaugural concert, which was broadcast by CCTV and attended by President Jiang Zemin.Fact|date=May 2008 The following year he began studies with Gary Graffman and Dick Doran at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. His most recent published work is the piano work for the score of the movie "The Painted Veil".

Performing and recording career

Lang Lang's breakthrough in the West came in 1999, when he was 17, with his last-minute substitution (introduced by Isaac Stern) for an indisposed André Watts at the Ravinia Festival's "Gala of the Century", in which he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Christoph Eschenbach). As of 2007, Lang Lang has performed with most of the major orchestras of the world.

Lang Lang is "loved by some, reviled by others." [American Record Guide; Jul/Aug2006, Vol. 69 Issue 4, p189-190, 2p] The "Chicago Tribune"'s music critic called him "the biggest, most exciting young keyboard talent I have encountered in many a year of attending piano recitals". [cite journal |last=Rhein |first=John von |journal=Chicago Tribune |date=March 7, 2000 |title=Lang Leaves Audience Elated |url= |format=subscription required] In 2001 he made his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut with Yuri Temirkanov, travelled to Beijing with the Philadelphia Orchestra on a tour celebrating its 100th anniversary, during which he performed to an audience of 8,000 at the Great Hall of the People, and made an acclaimed BBC Proms debut, prompting a music critic of the British newspaper "The Times" to write, "Lang Lang took a sold-out Royal Albert Hall by storm... This could well be history in the making". [ [ Telarc International] ] In 2003, he returned to the BBC Proms for the First Night concert with Leonard Slatkin. After his recent recital debut in the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berliner Zeitung wrote: "Lang Lang is a superb musical performer whose artistic touch is always in service of the music". [ [ Lang Lang, piano] . La Jolla Music Society: 2007.]

However, Lang Lang's performances have also been heavily criticized. Prominent critics have left his concerts early, citing "inexcusable, barely comprehensible" performance. [Nordlinger, Jay. " [ New York Chronicle] ." "New Criterion"; Apr2006, Vol. 24 Issue 8, p52-56, 5p] His performance style has been referred to as having "soggy rhythms and heavy phrasing" [ [ Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Paganini Rhapsody: Music: Sergey Rachmaninov,Valery Gergiev,Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra,Lang Lang] ] and as being "truly boring", "just bad" and "unendurable". [ [ Classics] ] Critics who feel that his playing is vulgar and lacks sensitivity have given him the nickname "Bang Bang". Others have described him as immature, though praised his ability to "conquer crowds with youthful bravado". [Ross, Alex. " [ The wow factor] ." "New Yorker", 4/2/2007, Vol. 83, Issue 6.] Some critics have argued that Lang is at his best playing the Classical repertoire as opposed to Romantic composers such as Chopin. [Nordlinger, Jay. " [ Ten Pianists Briefly] ." "National Review"; 3/13/2006, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p46-47, 2p, 3c]

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts describes Lang Lang: "already celebrated in all the music capitals of the world, Lang Lang has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to connect with audiences on a personal level and established himself as one of the most exciting artists of our time". [ [ Biography of Lang Lang. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts] ]

Lang Lang is also well known for his exaggerated mannerisms and facial expressions while playing piano, which has also affected his recent performances, such as that of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp Minor and Réminiscences de Don Juan. This has received criticism, though others have defended his displays, arguing " [Lang's] interpretations aren't just expressions of feeling but the feelings themselves."McDougall, Christopher. " [ Bang Bang] ." "Esquire"; Dec2005, Vol. 144 Issue 6, p210-11, 2p, 1c]

Lang Lang is a Steinway artist. At present, he records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, having made previous recordings for Telarc. On 27 November 2006, he immigrated to Hong Kong under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, the first person to do so under the scheme. [ [ Mainland pianist becomes Hong Kong resident] . Xinhua: Nov. 28, 2006.] He appears in the documentary , which was released in November 2007. In 2007 Lang Lang played piano on "Music of the Spheres", the first fully classical work by British musician Mike Oldfield, which is scored for classical guitar, piano and orchestra. Oldfield played some piano parts as well, in addition to the guitar.

In July 2007, in Norfolk, Lang Lang was the soloist in the premiere of Nigel Hess's Piano Concerto, commissioned by Prince Charles in memory of his grandmother url= _la. Schiller- A German electronic music project - on a single "Time for Dreams". [Schiller's Official Website]

Lang Lang featured in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, performing a melody from the Yellow River Cantata with five-year-old Li Muzi [ [ Lang delights the crowd with moving performance] Chen Jie, "China Daily" Staff Writer.] .


The subject of a best-selling biography in China, Lang Lang has received numerous awards and has been seen by millions of television viewers throughout the world. He has appeared with Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in a performance that was broadcast by Russian National Television. His 2004 performance with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbühne was attended by 23,000 people and was broadcast internationally on TV. In the summer of 2002, he became the first recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, in recognition of his distinguished musical talent.

Lang Lang was recently recognized for his efforts by the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) who appointed him an international Goodwill Ambassador, and he is also the youngest person ever appointed as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. [ [ UNICEF. Lang Lang] ]


External links

* [ Official Web site] ( [ biography] )
* [ Lang Lang Classical Club, International (Website)]
* [ Lang Lang Classical Club, International (Forum)]
* [ Lang Lang Fanclub]
* [ Lang Lang at NPR Music]

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