When Lang Lang says that music is a source of energy for him, he isn't kidding.
Monday was a long day for the 26-year-old Chinese piano superstar. He had landed in San Francisco at 1 a.m. that day, and rolled out of bed to face a grueling schedule of visits to city public schools, punctuated by an intercontinental video press conference for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project. By dinnertime, fielding questions from a roomful of youngsters at Chinatown's Gordon J. Lau Elementary School, he was visibly fading.
YouTube, one of the most popular and populist media platforms, announced Monday that it is taking its first step toward generating content by launching a symphony orchestra.
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra revolves around two main goals: the creation of a mash-up performance of a symphony from video submissions; and second, a live performance of the same symphony (written for the occasion by composer Tan Dun) at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 2009, with about 150 players selected on the basis of their YouTube video submissions.
The video-sharing website YouTube will take classical music out of pricey concert halls and bring it to the masses by holding an online competition where the public chooses musicians to play at Carnegie Hall.
The competition invites classical musicians around the world to submit two videos demonstrating their musical and technical abilities, YouTube said in a news release on Monday.
At 26, the pianist Lang Lang is playing to sold-out houses around the world, attracting throngs to outdoor concerts and topping the classical sales charts with his Deutsche Grammophon recordings. Though a dedicated artist, Mr. Lang unabashedly trots out his flamboyant persona when the occasion calls for it, as happened this summer when he played in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics before a television audience estimated to be 36 million.
One inescapable truth about pianist Lang Lang is that he's never long out of sight.
There's a whole raft of books and Web sites out there spun off the success of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die," but the copycats have upped the ante and gotten a little pushy.
Now we're challenged with "1,001 Things to Do Before You Die," "1,001 Books to Read Before You Die" and, more forcefully, "1,001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die." (You must, you hear?)
As long as Lang Lang keeps returning to Chicago, he need never buy himself another beer -- or Cosmo -- in this town again.
Grateful locals can't help but feel partly connected to the Chinese pianist's rise. In 1999, the 17-year-old's last-minute substitution for an ailing Andre Watts at Ravinia helped catapult his career, and since then, Lang and his marketing team have expertly cultivated an artist and product in demand the world over. (The Lang Lang-themed Adidas sneaker currently retails for $125.)
On the top left corner of Lang Lang's official homepage, there are four words above the iconic pose of Lang Lang in performance: "The Lang Lang Effect." In Lang Lang's performance on The Today Show, one day before the Beijing Summer Olympics, the term was highlighted to explain the extraordinary influence Lang Lang has had on the lives of millions of children motivated to learn the piano in China.
At almost the same time that pop diva Madonna found her way to the stage at BC Place Thursday evening, superstar pianist Lang Lang began a solo recital at the Orpheum.
Vancouver’s downtown core was packed to capacity Thursday night (October 30) as excited throngs gathered to worship at the altar of superstardom and spend a couple of hours with their musical idol. For many, that deity was Madonna, supreme queen of the pop charts, who was gracing BC Place with her presence. But hers was not the only hot ticket to be had; a few blocks away, at the Orpheum, a no-less-excited crowd assembled for a sold-out performance by Chinese pianist Lang Lang.