As a pianist, educator and philanthropist, as well as an influential ambassador for the arts, Lang Lang has fully embraced new technology and innovation, leading the way in bringing classical music into the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing or just for a few hundred children in public schools, Lang Lang is a master of communicating through music. Gifted with unique artistic and communicative skills, Lang Lang unites excellence and accessibility unlike anyone else, and builds bridges between Eastern and Western culture.
Heralded by the New York Times as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”, Lang Lang works with the most excellent classical musicians of our time. He has formed ongoing collaborations with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Eschenbach, and performed with the world’s top orchestras, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics as well as America’s leading orchestras. Lang Lang has played sold-out concerts in major concert halls of every continent in the world. Recent memorable appearances include concerts at the prestigious Sydney Opera House, as well as a performance in the old town of Havana with Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés, fostering musical exchanges with Cuba. Lang Lang is known for thinking “outside the box” and frequently steps into different musical worlds, teaming up with artists from diverse genres. His performances at the GRAMMY Awards with Metallica, Pharrell Williams and jazz legend Herbie Hancock were hailed by millions of viewers. His video collaboration with dubstep dancer Marquese “Nonstop” Scott continues to inspire a global internet community.
For about a decade, Lang Lang has contributed to musical education and support for children worldwide. In 2008 he founded the “Lang Lang International Music Foundation”, which aimed at cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology, and building a young audience through live music experiences. Headquartered in New York City, the Foundation has implemented its programmes in North America, Europe and Asia, and was awarded an ECHO Klassik special prize in 2015. In 2013 Lang Lang was designated by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a “Messenger of Peace” focusing on global education. He also currently serves on the Weill Music Institute Advisory Committee as part of Carnegie Hall’s educational programme and is the youngest member of Carnegie Hall’s Artistic Advisory Board.
Lang Lang’s tireless energy and boundless drive to attract new audiences to classical music have brought him numerous titles and awards: he was presented with the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos and was picked as one of the 250 “Young Global Leaders” by the World Economic Forum. He is also the recipient of many honorary doctorates, notably from the Royal College of Music (presented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales), the Manhattan School of Music and New York University. In December 2011 he was honoured the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. More recently, he has received the highest German civilian honor, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, in recognition of his distinguished services to music. In January 2013, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
In 2016 Lang Lang was invited to the Vatican to perform for Pope Francis at the opening ceremony of the first Faith and Sports World Conference. He has also performed for numerous other international dignitaries and heads of state, including four US presidents and monarchs from many nations.
Lang Lang started playing the piano at the age of three. He won the Shenyang Competition and gave his first public recital before the age of five, and was admitted to Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory aged nine. At 13, he won the First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians and played the complete Chopin Études at the Beijing Concert Hall. He left China for Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute, where he worked with the legendary pianist Gary Graffman. He was 17 when his big break came, substituting for André Watts at the “Gala of the Century”, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach: he became an overnight sensation and invitations started to pour in.
Lang Lang’s autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, was released to critical acclaim and has been published by Random House in eleven languages. As part of his commitment to the education of children, Lang Lang also released a special version aimed at younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys.
Lang Lang is leading the way in bringing music education into the 21st century through his highly regarded new publishing programme, the Lang Lang Piano Academy, produced in collaboration with Faber Music. Mastering the Piano, a series of guildelines exploring piano technique, launched at the programme. The latest edition is, The Lang Lang Piano Method, which is an imaginative new tutor for beginners used in public schools’ educational programme, “Keys of Inspiration”.