China's flamboyant pianist Lang Lang said his performance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a message -- China is changing.
The 26-year-old spiky-haired pianist has captivated audiences around the world by combining his classical repertoire and pop-culture showmanship, making him a national hero alongside sport stars such as basketballer Yao Ming and hurdler Liu Xiang.
Critics adore him, and his spiked hair and boyish charm make girls squeal. He even has his very own Adidas shoe.
No, he's not in a boy band, nor is he famed for dunking a ball. Lang Lang is a 26-year-old classical pianist who tickles both ivories and eardrums with formidable skill.
Few citizens of the People’s Republic stand to benefit more from this summer’s Olympic Games, in Beijing, than a young man from the Manchurian city of Shenyang named Lang Lang. The son of a vice cop and a telephone operator, Lang Lang is no athlete—he is as sedentary as a veal calf in a dark shed—but he has prepared for the Games with the intensity of a middle-distance runner and the ecstatic anticipation of a groom.
The international piano phenom Lang Lang was all of 17 when he caught the world's attention as a last-minute stand-in for Andre Watts at Ravinia's centennial concert in 1999. Though he is just 26 now, he has had several lifetimes of experience in the intervening eight years: Regular performances in every music capital, awards, riches, films, a new autobiography (presumably the first of several) -- even his own black and gold Adidas sneakers.
I think of great books as having a distinct, urgent voice. Their narratives pull you along insistently, convincingly, as if nothing else in the world mattered while you're reading them. They're beautifully written, weave great stories, and open a window on a world you may not have looked through before.
BEIJING - The concert program was much the same as in 1973. The venue was the same. Even some of the guests were the same.
But in contrast to the restrained reception the Philadelphia Orchestra received the first time, the invitation-only audience at the Cultural Palace of Nationalities yesterday showed unbridled enthusiasm for the orchestra in a program marking the 35th anniversary of its groundbreaking first tour of China.
Chinese pianist Lang Lang will perform a benefit concert in Beijing Monday with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by musical director Christoph Eschenbach, to help with the earthquake relief effort in China.
From the classical music world come two stories of coping. The Philharmonie, home of the Berlin Philharmonic, reopened for concerts and tours on Monday, less than two weeks after a fire, and the Philadelphia Orchestra turned its Beijing concert into a benefit for rebuilding after the earthquake that devastated parts of Sichuan Province, China, last month. The German Symphony Orchestra was the first to perform in the Philharmonie's main concert hall after a May 20 fire forced rescue crews to tear down a quarter of the roof, The Associated Press reported.
On June 2nd, 2008, superstar Chinese pianist Lang Lang will perform a very special concert in Beijing with the world-famous Philadelphia Orchestra, led by its music director Christoph Eschenbach, to support the rebuilding of the school system in China’s Sichuan Province following the massive earthquake that devastated the region on May 12th