Pianist Lang Lang receives honorary NYU doctorate
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.
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.