Lang Lang marks mu­sic mile­stone

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By ZHANG RUINAN in New York ru­inanzhang@chi­nadai­

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.

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