Lang Lang

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About Lang Lang

The most commercially successful classical-music figure to emerge in the 21st century, Lang Lang built his reputation on a rock-star-like stage presence and high-profile cross-genre performances. Born in 1982 in Shenyang, he was a child prodigy, giving his first recital at age five, entering conservatory at nine, and performing with a major symphony orchestra at 13. From there, his profile grew through marquee international performances and recordings of technically demanding piano concertos by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, and Beethoven. By the 2010s, the pianist was regularly appearing at venues and events such as the White House, the Olympics, the Vatican, and the Grammys. His recordings in that period include surveys of Liszt, Mozart, and Chopin; prestigious performances at Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Musikverein, and the 2019 best-selling album Piano Book, comprising works that defined his musical personality. His lengthy slate of non-classical collaborators includes Metallica, Pharrell Williams, Herbie Hancock, and Billy Joel. Lang Lang has also made music education and outreach a priority through engaging in charitable work, developing apps, and even performing concerts on TikTok. Despite his reputation as the quintessential classical star of his era, the pianist courts controversy; on his 2020 take on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, he takes significant liberties with standard performance practice, keeping with his penchant for hyper-emotiveness and showmanship.

Shenyang, China
June 14, 1982

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