As a pianist, educator, and philanthropist, Lang Lang is one of the world’s most influential and committed ambassadors for the arts in the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing or for a few hundred children in the public schools, he is a master of communicating through music.
Mr. Lang performs with the world’s top orchestras, collaborating with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim, and Christoph Eschenbach. Known for thinking outside the box, Mr. Lang has also performed with Metallica, Pharrell Williams, and Herbie Hancock. In 2008 he founded the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. In 2013 the Secretary General of the United Nations designated him a Messenger of Peace, focusing on global education.
Mr. Lang started playing the piano at age three and gave his first public recital at five. He entered Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at nine; four years later, he won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. He moved to Philadelphia to study with pianist 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. He became an overnight sensation.
Mr. Lang received the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos and was chosen as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. He holds honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and New York University. In December 2011 he was honored with the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and also received the highest civilian honors in Germany (Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and France (Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters). In 2016 he was invited to the Vatican to perform for Pope Francis. He has also performed for numerous other international dignitaries, including four US presidents and the leaders of many nations.