Lang Lang marks music milestone
Devoted to promoting music education in US public schools and inspiring the next generation of music lovers and performers worldwide, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (LLIMF) celebrated its 10th anniversary in New York on Wednesday.
“Whether it comes to us in a classroom or from the great stage of Carnegie Hall, music can inspire us in ways we never realized were possible,” said Chinese pianist Lang Lang at a charity gala in downtown Manhattan.
Started by Lang in 2008, the foundation has developed music education programs benefiting children across the world, including Keys of Inspiration, 101 Pianists, Young Scholars and Play It Forward.
The gala raised $1.6 million for the foundation’s programs.
“For our Keys of Inspiration program, we aim to bring music education to American public schools and change what music education looks like there — not afterschool programs, we want it to become a part of the school’s curriculum, which was quite challenging at first.
“It’s different in China, because there most public schools have music classes,” Lang continued. “In China, we have to train the music teachers to a much higher level, bring new musical instruments, such as smart pianos, and improve music curriculums.
“Most students enter the program with no prior knowledge of music or piano. There have been many students who began the program speaking no English, but in the Keys of Inspiration classroom, everyone speaks one language — music,” he added.
Lang said that when the program started in the US five years ago, there were only two schools and 300 students enrolled in it. Now it has 40 schools across the US, reaching more than 16,000 students.
“We focus on schools with limited resources, and reach students of all backgrounds,” said Lang. “We want to give them a chance to receive an amazing musical education.
“So far, we’ve done a great job, and in the next two years, we hope that the program can reach 30,000 students in 80 schools across the US,” he said.
Lang also led a “piano orchestra” performance at the gala featuring some of the foundation’s Young Scholars.
“Music delivers the most influential human power, and I really believe we have to change the way people think about music education,” Lang said.
He called music a bridge — between China and the US, between people from different generations and backgrounds — and the best way to enhance mutual understanding.
Chinese pianist Lang Lang makes a speech with Leszek BarwinskiBrown, CEO of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, at a benefit gala in New York on Wednesday celebrating the 10th anniversary of the foundation.