Lang Lang is a leading figure in classical music today – as a pianist, educator and philanthropist he has become one of the 21st century’s most influential and committed ambassadors for the arts worldwide. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing or for just a few hundred children in schools, he is a master of communicating through music.
Heralded by the New York Times as ‘the hottest artist on the classical music planet’, Lang Lang plays sold-out concerts all over the world. He has formed ongoing collaborations with conductors including Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim and Christoph Eschenbach and performs with the world’s top orchestras. Lang Lang frequently steps into different musical worlds. His performances at the Grammy Awards with Metallica, Pharrell Williams and jazz legend Herbie Hancock were watched by millions of viewers.
For more than a decade Lang Lang has contributed to musical education worldwide. In 2008 he founded the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, aimed at cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology and building a young audience through live music experiences. In 2013 the Secretary General of the United Nations designated Lang Lang as a Messenger of Peace focussing on global education.
He started playing the piano aged three, and gave his first public recital before the age of five. He entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory aged nine, and won First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians at 13. He subsequently went to Philadelphia to study with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music. 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.
His boundless drive to attract new audiences to classical music has brought him tremendous recognition: 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 honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and New York University. In December 2011 he was honoured with the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and received the highest civilian honours in Germany (Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and France (Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters). He has performed for numerous international dignitaries, including President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II.