By Liem Ho
“Bravo, Bravo! Encore, Encore!” cries and cheers filled the halls of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center last Saturday night, as a standing ovation thanked Lang Lang for his inspiring performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” his second and final encore piece.
Earlier that night, Lang Lang performed Bach’s Italian Concerto in F Major, Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, and Chopin’s The Four Scherzos. His first encore, in honor of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, was a traditional Chinese piece.
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center was only one of many stops in Lang Lang’s national tour. Two days before on September 24th, Lang Lang performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. His next stop after NJPAC was the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing, Michigan, on September 28th. Not only does Lang Lang tour all over the United States, he performs and inspires audiences around the world.
He’s played at the 2014 World Cup in Rio, Brazil, the 56th and 57th Grammy Awards where he performed alongside big name artists Metallica and Pharrell Williams, and was the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Yet Lang Lang hailed from a small Chinese town known as Shenyang. He would travel to the big city as a small child and was trained by the country’s best music professors. He began learning piano at age three and performed at his first public recital at age five. By age nine, he had won first place at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musician’s Competition, and played complete Chopin Etudes at the Beijing Concert Hall at thirteen. Lang Lang made his debut onto the world stage when, at age seventeen, he left for America and substituted Andre Watts at the last minute to perform in “Gala of the Century,” a Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Since his international debut, Lang Lang has published an autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, in eleven languages, and has been included in Time magazine’s annual list of 100 Most Influential People in the world. Lang Lang is an international symbol and inspiration for youth piano enthusiasts world wide—Steinway Pianos even named a piano model designed for early music education the “Lang Lang Piano” after him.
Lang Lang, widely known as a “global citizen of the world,” also contributes to children around the world through mentoring rising young aspiring pianists, performing for sick children in hospitals, holding recitals in underserved and remote communities, and donating his talents in other various ways to promote awareness of other charities and causes. As a result, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation was founded to accomplish these goals.
The renowned pianist reaches a broader audience through television performances, providing offering master classes and giving talks at universities, and performing as an invited guest at various venues around the world. For more information on Lang Lang and his work, visit www.langlang.com and www.langlangfoundation.org,