Many have wondered whether he might be the greatest concert pianist of his generation.
Acclaimed in all the world’s major concert halls, Lang Lang has demonstrated an extraor¬dinary ability to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level and has established him¬self as one of the most exciting pianists of our time. His talent and personality make him an ideal ambassador for classical music and a role model for young people. He has performed live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and could also be seen on Sesame Street. He is the first Chinese ¬pianist to be engaged by the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Philharmoniker and all “Big Five” American orchestras.
Born in Shenyang, China, Lang Lang ¬begins his piano studies at the age of three with Professor Zhu Ya-Fen from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music.
Wins first prize in the Shenyang Piano Com¬petition after which he gives his first public recital. In the coming years he takes first prize in the Fifth Xing Hai Cup Piano Competition in Beijing, first prize and “outstanding artistic perfor¬mance” in the Fourth International Young Pianists Competition in Germany and first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition held in 1995 in Japan.
Enters the Central Music Conservatory in Beijing, where he studies with Professor Zhao Ping-Guo.
Plays the complete Chopin Etudes in the Beijing Concert Hall.
In September, performs as one of the solo¬ists at the inaugural concert of the China National Symphony, which President Jiang Ze-Min attends as guest of honour.
Begins studies with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, which he concludes in 2002.
Decisive career breakthrough in August with his dramatic last-minute substitution for André Watts at the Ravinia Festival’s “Gala of the Century”, playing the First Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In April makes sold-out Carnegie Hall debut in April to great critical acclaim playing the Grieg Concerto with the Baltimore Sym¬phony under Yuri Temirkanov. In June travels to Beijing with the Philadelphia ¬Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch for a tour celebrating the orchestra’s 100th anniversary, during which he performs to an audience of 8000 at the Great Hall of the People. BBC Proms debut in August, playing Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto – the Times of Lon¬don’s critic writes: “Lang Lang took a sold-out Albert Hall by storm . . . This could well be history in the making.”
Recital debuts at London’s Wigmore-Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center and the Louvre in Paris. Makes his subscription-concert debuts with the New York Philharmonic and London Philharmonic, both with Christoph Eschenbach, ¬under whose baton he also tours Europe with the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg. Performs with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit in concerts broadcast on NHK Television throughout Japan.
In July at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival he becomes the first recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award in recognition of his exceptional musical talent. He is featured in a week-long residency with five concerts at the Ravinia Festival.
Makes his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon in February: the Tchai¬kovsky and Mendelssohn First Concertos, with Daniel Barenboim conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (released on CD and SACD in 2003, Echo Award 2004). Festival appearances include perfor¬ming the Tchai¬kovsky First Piano Concerto at the opening concert of the BBC Proms with Leonard Slatkin at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as Mostly Mozart (for the first time), Aspen, Tanglewood (with the Bos¬ton Symphony), Ravinia (with the Chicago Symphony), Saratoga (with the Phila¬delphia Orchestra), Blossom (with the Cleveland Orchestra), Verbier, Schles¬wig-Holstein and the Ruhr Piano Festival. In November Lang Lang makes his trium¬phant Car¬negie Hall recital debut, recorded live by Deut¬sche Grammophon and released on CD, SACD and DVD in 2004. During the course of the following seasons, he plays this programme (Schu¬mann, Haydn, Schubert, Tan Dun, Chopin, Liszt) all over the world.
His orchestral appearances include the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Marin Alsop), London Philharmonic (Vladimir Jurowski), Orchestre de Paris (Eschenbach), Ber¬lin Staatskapelle (Barenboim), Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre (Gergiev) and, in June, Berliner Philharmoniker (closing-night concert of the season), with Sir Simon Rattle at the Waldbühne. Takes up his duties as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with a visit to Tan¬zania. Summer includes a concert tour of Australia and New Zealand, as well as festival appearances in Ravinia and Verbier. Makes his recital debut at the Berlin Philharmonie in May and a coast-to-coast US recital tour in November. Honoured with the German Echo Award as “Instrumentalist of the Year”. His Car¬negie Hall Recital album enters the German pop charts and is awarded an Austrian Amadeus Music Award in 2005.
Appears in Beijing and on an extensive North American tour with the China Phil¬harmonic as well as with numerous leading international orchestras ¬including the New York Philharmonic (Maazel), Detroit Symphony (Neeme Järvi), Chicago Symphony (Barenboim), Royal Concertgebouw (Gatti), Münch¬ner and Wiener Philharmoniker (with Mehta) and London Symphony (Sir ¬Colin Davis). Takes part in the second “Concert for Europe” with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Mehta at Schönbrunn Palace, broadcast around the world, reaching nearly 60 million people. Recitals and performances at summer festivals throughout North Amer¬ica and Europe including a highly acclaimed Salzburg Festival. Extensive tours of North America, Europe and East Asia. First Latin American tour in November with concerts in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Released this year on CD and SACD: Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and the Paganini Rhapsody with Valery Gergiev (recorded in 2004). Recording of the original soundtrack of Maestro, on which Lang Lang is to be heard in the transcription of Wagner’s “Liebestod” among other works.
Orchestral engagements with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors and recitals throughout the USA and Europe, in China and Japan. His new album, Memory, featuring works by Mozart, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt is released in January and climbs to no. 1 of Billboard’s Classical Charts within just three weeks. He plays this programme during extensive recital tours of Europe and the USA. In April the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich chose Lang Lang as “Artist in Residence” for the concert season 2006/07 – he is the first artist elected for this position. Dragon Songs, a full-length documentary film created during Lang Lang’s extensive China concert tour is scheduled for release on DVD in the autumn; the music from Dragon Songs is scheduled for CD release as a sound¬track album.
2007 Special highlights in¬clude concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Salzburg Easter Festival, with the Wiener Philharmoniker in Carnegie Hall and open-air concerts with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Germany. In autumn, he plays ten different piano concertos to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Beijing Inter¬national Festival and the 20th anniversary of his concert debut. World-premiere of a new composition by Nigel Hess about the life of the Queen Mother in the presence of HRH Prince Charles and a performance at the Classical Brit Awards ceremony in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Release of his first Beethoven recording, the Piano Concertos nos. 1 and 4 with the Orchestre de Paris under Eschenbach
2008 In February Lang Lang and legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock appear together at the internationally televised Grammy® Awards. World-premiere performance in April of a new piano concerto by Tan Dun with the New York Philharmonic. In August, over 5 billion people view Lang Lang’s performance in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Other summer highlights include a China tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra (Eschenbach), concerts at the Salzburg and Ruhr Piano festivals, with the New York Philharmonic in Central Park and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and a recital at the BBC Proms. Lang Lang’s autobiography “Journey of a Thousand Miles” is published in summer. Lang Lang International Music Foundation launched in New York in October. Autumn audio release: Chopin’s Piano Concertos nos. 1 & 2 with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Mehta
2009 Starting with the 2008/09 season Lang Lang will hold outreach residencies in leading musical centres of the US, Canada and Europe, comprising masterclasses, chamber concerts, school visits and live chats with university students, orchestral concerts, performances featuring traditional Chinese musicians and music, 4-hand repertoire with children, and vocal and piano duo recitals. Other appearances this year include a European tour with the Gewandhaus Orchestra (Chailly), a world tour with the Wiener Philharmoniker (Mehta); and a European tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Harding); performances of the Vaughan Williams Double Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock throughout Europe and North America; concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra and a tour with the Dresden Staatskapelle; recitals in Japan, Europe and the US, as well as Mumbai and Abu Dhabi. His new recording with Piano Trios by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov is due for release in the autumn.