Pi­anist Lang Lang named New York’s cul­tural en­voy

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

Lang Lang, the vir­tu­oso Chi­nese pi­anist known for his long-time love of New York’s rich and di­verse cul­ture, was named the city’s first-ever “Cul­tural Tourism Am­bas­sador” on Tues­day by NYC & Com­pany, the city’s tourism agency.

In­ducted into the city’s Ride of Fame, Lang was pre­sented with a dou­ble-decker sight­see­ing bus dec­o­rated with his photo. He then in­scribed a per­sonal mes­sage on one of the seats, with his au­to­graph and a smi­ley face.

“I’m so ex­cited, to­day will be a very long and beau­ti­ful mem­ory that stays in my mind for­ever,” Lang told Xin­hua News Agency at the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony out­side Stein­way Hall, where he de­liv­ered a crowd­pleas­ing live per­for­mance of Gersh­win’s “Rhap­sody in Blue”.

Ear­lier this year, New York City tourism of­fi­cials an­nounced a two-year city-to-city part­ner­ship with Shanghai, mark­ing its first such al­liance in China. Co­in­cid­ing with the 2016 “US-China Tourism Year” des­ig­nated by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, the part­ner­ship in­cludes ex­changes and the “shar­ing of best prac­tices in tourism mar­ket­ing,” ac­cord­ing to NYC & Com­pany’s web­site.

Christo­pher Hey­wood, the com­pany’s se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, said China was New York City’s sec­ond-largest source of vis­i­tors (next to the UK) and a “cru­cially im­por­tant mar­ket” for the city’s tourism in­dus­try.

“We are con­fi­dent that Lang Lang’s am­bas­sador­ship will ac­cel­er­ate the growth even more,” he said.

On Sept 16, Lang re­leased his new al­bum New York Rhap­sody in ho­mage to “the great city and the mu­sic it has in­spired,” ac­cord­ing to Sony records.

Lang Lang said he would seize this op­por­tu­nity and in­vite more friends from China to New York, a city that he said re­flected a unique fu­sion of dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

“We should put a pi­ano here on the bus,” said Lang. “And some Chi­nese bar­be­cue!”

New York also pro­claimed Sept 20, 2016 “Lang Lang Day.”

CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese pi­anist Lang Lang on New York City’s Ride of Fame, on Tues­day in New York.

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