Lang Lang: Center theatre of a symphonic life

Pianist Lang Lang has a Summer Song to share with us — and a Father’s Day story all his own. Seth Doane paid him a visit: 

Thirty-five-year-old world-renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang wants to change the whole judgment of exemplary piano. He’s brought his emotional, thespian character to audiences opposite the globe: from New York’s Lincoln Center, to this night on a very special stage: his hometown of Shenyang, China.

He explained his unison outline to Doane:  “Tonight we will start with the ‘Cuban Dance’ [by Ernesto Lecuona], and then we will have this pleasing night music, and then we will take ‘Turkish March.’ And then we will have ‘Superman.'”


Pianist Lang Lang with match Seth Doane.

If he’s a luminary elsewhere, he’s a luminary in Shenyang, a city of eight million in China’s northeast, where Doane met him at a CD signing forward of the performance.

When asked how it feels to be home, Lang said, “It feels really warm. we left my hometown when we was nine, so I’m always blank my home.”


As a child, Lang Lang and his family changed from Shenyang, China to Beijing so he could study piano.

A earnest immature pianist, his relatives changed him to Beijing as a child so he could work with the best teacher they could afford. He lived with his father in a $20-a-month apartment, while his mother, a write operator, sent what income she could to support them. It was a severe start.

“The first year was very, very difficult,” pronounced Lang. “And we got fired by the piano teacher.” He pronounced she claimed Lang had “No talent.”

Devastated, he stopped practicing, which sent his father into a fit of rage.

“My father just totally went nuts,” Lang recalled. “He’s like, you know, ‘You just got fired. And you’re still not critical about your playing, your life. And you should kill yourself.'”

“Your father pronounced you should kill yourself?” Doane asked. “Was he serious?”

“Yeah, we consider he was serious.”

When Doane met Lang’s father just before the Shenyang performance, he was asked not to plead the self-murder demands.


Lang Lang and his father, Lang Guoren.

“Looking back, do you think, ‘I competence have pushed my son too much’?” Doane asked.

“I consider we desirous him to adore piano,” Lang Guoren replied. “We became partners in the career.”

Today, father and son are mostly side-by-side, and Lang Lang says he almost understands. “During the Cultural Revolution, which is my parent’s generation, they didn’t have a possibility to do what they like to do,” he said.

In Communist Party founder Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Chinese intellectuals and artists were sent to villages to work on farms. Jobs were assigned, and dreams dashed. So, his relatives poured their dreams into him, spending half-a-year’s income to buy Lang Lang a piano.

As a child he remembered being desirous by a 1986 opening by Russian Vladimir Horowitz, which he watched on TV. [It was promote in America live on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.”]

There were also the distant some-more childlike sources of inspiration, such as the Tom Jerry cartoon, “The Cat Concerto.”

Borrowing some of Tom Jerry’s light for the dramatic, Lang Lang went on to study at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Music Academy, startling peers with his adore for Beethoven: “They were like: ‘Euhhh… That’s like my great-grandmother’s favorite. That guy’s dead, right?’ we say, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ So, you know, from the very commencement we thought, ‘One day, we need to change this image.'”

So when he got the possibility to play along with heavy-metal organisation Metallica at the 2014 Grammys, he took it.


Pianist Lang Lang performs with the complicated steel organisation Metallica at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

“You like the climax aspect of this,” pronounced Doane.

“Yeah, absolutely. Because we consider that sometimes, people will consider about exemplary musicians, they consider we are professors.”


Pianist Lang Lang.

Nothing against professors, of course. In fact, moving the next era is one of Lang Lang’s focuses these days.

According to Lang, there are 50 million children in China training the piano.

“So, you are a role indication to an awful lot of kids in this country,” pronounced Doane.

“Yeah. Sometimes we felt that I’m in charge of a outrageous kindergarten!”

At the opening in Shenyang, 100 kids, ages 6 to ten, played by his side, yet maybe not with the same free appearance.

Lang Lang says, in kids, he recognizes the same hopes and dreams his father saw in him.

For a discerning doctrine from Lang Lang on personification arpeggios, click on the video player below”

Lang Lang Lessons #3 by
Lang Lang on

For some-more info:

  • Live unison and sheet information
  • Follow @lang_lang on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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