Pi­anist Lang Lang re­ceives hon­orary NYU doc­tor­ate

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NIU YUE in New York

Chi­nese pi­anist Lang Lang was granted an hon­orary doc­tor­ate by New York Uni­ver­sity on Wed­nes­day.

NYU Pres­i­dent John Sex­ton be­stowed a doc­tor of fine arts de­gree on Lang Lang at the uni­ver­sity’s 183rd com­mence­ment at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

“It’s a great honor to be rec­og­nized by an aca­demic author­ity like NYU,” Lang Lang said to China Daily.

Call­ing Lang the “hottest artist on the clas­si­cal mu­sic planet”, Sex­ton said that he has in­spired mil­lions and has ig­nited global in­ter­est in clas­si­cal mu­sic.

The In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Foun­da­tion founded by Lang “pre­pares the next gen­er­a­tion of clas­si­cal mu­sic lovers and per­form­ers though part­ner­ships with public schools, free mu­sic camps and men­tor­ship of young pi­anists,” Sex­ton said.

Sex­ton also praised the con­tri­bu­tions to char­ity by Lang, who has held ben­e­fit con­certs for earth­quake re­lief in China and Haiti and has been des­ig­nated a UNICEF good­will am­bas­sador and a UN mes­sen­ger of peace, fo­cus­ing on global ed­u­ca­tion.

Talk­ing about his con­nec­tion with NYU, Lang said that it just came nat­u­rally be­cause of a com­mon goal shared with one of his ac­quain­tances from NYU to pro­mote clas­si­cal mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. Lang also gave a recital at NYU Shang­hai last year.

“Since NYU has a high level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism in arts ed­u­ca­tion, af­ter re­ceiv­ing this de­gree, we’ll be co­op­er­at­ing closely on mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, such as mu­sic camp,” Lang said.

“Lang Lang, an ex­em­plary global cit­i­zen molded in the great in­sti­tu­tions of China and the US and a source of pride and res­o­nance for NYU and NYU Shang­hai, you are a dy­namic and iconic bridge for mu­sic and peace be­tween East and West,” Sex­ton said.

A video of a Lang pi­ano solo at Wash­ing­ton Square Park near NYU, es­pe­cially cre­ated for this year’s cer­e­mony, was played dur­ing com­mence­ment.

Lang also has al­ready re­ceived hon­orary doc­tor­ates from the Royal Academy of Mu­sic in Lon­don and the Man­hat­tan School of Mu­sic and an hon­orary Ox­ford fel­low­ship from the Uni­ver­sity of Ox­ford in Eng­land.

Four other hon­orary doc­tor­ates were be­stowed to: Sher­ri­lyn Ifill, pres­i­dent and direc­tor-coun­sel of the NAACP Legal De­fense and Ed­u­ca­tional Fund; Peter D. Lax, Abel Prize-win­ning math­e­ma­ti­cian; Graca Sim­bine Machel, po­lit­i­cal leader and hu­man­i­tar­ian; and Jan To­mas Vil­cek, physi­cian and bio­med­i­cal re­searcher.

About 8,000 stu­dents re­ceived un­der­grad­u­ate, grad­u­ate and pro­fes­sional de­grees, and more than 20,000 guests at­tended the cer­e­mony. Hong Xiao in New York con­trib­uted to this story.

XIAO LIXIN / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese pi­anist Lang Lang (left) was es­corted by Chan­drika Tan­don, trustee of New York Uni­ver­sity, in the pro­ces­sion to re­ceive his hon­orary doc­tor of fine arts de­gree at NYU’s 2015 Com­mence­ment at Yan­kee Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

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