Lang Lang started playing the piano aged three and by the age of five had given his first public recital. He entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory aged nine, and by the age of 13 had won first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians’ Competition, playing the complete Chopin Etudes at the Beijing Concert Hall. Leaving his home town in Shenyang, China, Lang Lang soon joined the world-famous Curtis Institute of Music Philadelphia, USA and began studies under the tutelage of country’s leading music professors, Gary Graffman.
Aged 17, Lang Lang was called upon to make a dramatic last-minute substitution for the famous Andre Watts to perform in the “Gala Of The Century”, playing a Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. An “overnight star” - the world’s finest concert halls quickly beckoned, and his subsequent career now sees Lang Lang enjoy a reputation as one of the world’s most prolific and highest-profile recording artists, playing to sold out concerts in every major city around the world. Reaching audiences of all sizes, few come bigger than that of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, of which Lang Lang was the first official Ambassador; a role, created by YouTube and Google that combined two of his great loves, music and outreach through technology.
Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times, Time Magazine has recently included Lang Lang in the “Time 100”, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Throughout his career, Lang Lang has remained passionate about the importance of inspiring new generations of young pianists, and his extraordinary talent and charisma has inspired millions to take up the piano. In China alone, “the Lang Lang effect” (¹) is credited with encouraging over 40 million children to learn the instrument.
Lang Lang is first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic orchestras. He has also performed at many prestigious events worldwide. More than four billion people around the world viewed his performance at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and, from many landmark events, he was honoured to perform recently for both President Barack Obama and former President Hu Jin-Tao of China at the White House State Dinner, as well as at the Diamond Jubilee celebratory concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Lang Lang has performed for numerous international dignitaries including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as several Presidents and members of royal families around the world.
Lang Lang has formed enduring musical partnerships with some of the world’s greatest artists, from conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle, to artists from outside of classical music including dubstep dancer Marquese “nonstop” Scott; singer-songwriter Julio Inglesias; jazz titan Herbie Hancock; singer-songwriter John Legend and heavy metal band Metallica.
Numerous TV appearances include The Today Show, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show, 60 Minutes, Wetten Dass and El Número Uno among many others. He has been featured on every major TV network and in news and lifestyle magazines worldwide, including such diverse publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, Vogue, The Times, Financial Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Die Welt, Reader’s Digest and People.
Lang Lang’s “second career”
“the world’s ambassador of the keyboard” The New Yorker
Today, Lang Lang is more committed than ever to his work on education projects and charitable activities. His “second career” is bringing music into the lives of children around the world, both through his work for charities such as UNICEF, for whom he is International Goodwill Ambassador, and through his own Lang Lang International Music Foundation whose goals of are to cultivate tomorrow’s top pianists, champion music education at the forefront of technology, and build a young audience through live music experiences. Lang Lang Music World launched in 2011 - a multifunctioning arts complex located in Shenzhen and Chongqing, China, where children can go to receive piano education, participate in master classes and competitions and attend concerts. Lang Lang also currently serves on the Weill Music Institute Advisory Committee as part of Carnegie Hall’s educational program and is the youngest member of Carnegie Hall’s Artistic Advisory Board.
(¹) NBC The Today Show