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From collaborations with Kanye to Olympic sprints, here's everything you need to know about the pianist Lang Lang - named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Now 36 years of age, Chinese musician Lang Lang first started playing the piano at the tender age of three. He won the Shenyang Competition and gave his first public recital before the age of five and entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory aged nine.
To pursue a career as a concert pianist, Lang Lang decided to leave China for Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute, where he worked closely on his technique with legendary pianist Gary Graffman. He was just 17 when his career took off and he became an overnight sensation after playing Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto at the “Gala of the Century” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
A global piano sensation, Lang Lang is no stranger to success and is currently worth an estimated $30 million (£22m). As well as selling millions of albums around the world and regularly topping Classical charts, his achievements include a nomination for a 2007 Grammy Award and he was even named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the star was diagnosed with tendonitis in 2017 and his arm injury became so severe that it could have cost him his career. Many pianists suffer with the condition as a result of their extensive playing – but luckily, Lang Lang made a speedy recovery.
After months of rumours surrounding their 'secret engagement', Lang Lang married fellow pianist Gina Alice Redlinger in June 2019, in an enviably glamorous ceremony in France.
The name Lang Lang means ‘brilliance of the sky’.
In 2011, Lang Lang appeared in the 3D family film, The Flying Machine, about a mum who takes her two children to see an animated film about a piano, accompanied by a live pianist. As if by magic, the kids get transported inside the cartoon world, where Lang Lang and their mother have to pursue them.
Lang Lang recorded piano works for the soundtrack to the video game Gran Turismo 5. This included versions of the traditional Londonderry Air, and the third movement from Prokofiev's seventh Piano Sonata.
At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Lang Lang teamed up with jazz legend Herbie Hancock for a performance that was seen by 45 million viewers. Hancock said of Lang Lang, "You hear him play, and he never ceases to touch your heart."
In 2011, Lang Lang Music World was launched in China where children can go to receive lessons and master classes, attend concerts and purchase Lang Lang-branded products.
Lang Lang holds the title of the first Ambassador of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, a global endeavor devoted to sharing the love of music and celebrating humanity's vast creative diversity. A concert at Sydney Opera House in March 2011 was live streamed to millions of viewers.
Steinway pianos have created five versions of a ‘Lang Lang™ Steinway’ for young players. It is the first time in the company’s history that it has used a performer’s name on a piano, and his name has become a trademark.
In 2008, Lang Lang played on Mike Oldfield's Music of the Spheres. He sent his piano parts over the internet to be mixed into the tracks.
On 22 July 2012, Lang Lang carried the London 2012 Olympic Torch through Hornchurch on its Redbridge to Bexley leg.
Lang Lang is good friends with American superstar Kanye West. The pianist says the two will definitely collaborate in the future.
On 14th September 2020, Lang Lang will realise a lifelong dream of recording Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. A landmark achievement for any pianist…