China Daily

Lang Lang’s new role


Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who has played to sold-out venues around the world, performed with world-renowned orchestras, and has performed at the Beijing Olympic Games and the Grammy Awards, is now taking on a new role. He will be artist-in-residence at the National Center for the Performing Arts for 2017-18.

Before Lang, 33, others who have held the position were cellist Wang Jian, pianist Wang Yuja and composer Chen Qigang.

According to NCPA vicepresid­ent Li Zhixiang, the appointmen­t, which marks the 10th anniversar­y of the theater, will see a piano recital by Lang on April 8, a joint performanc­e by Lang and the NCPA Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, as well as two joint performanc­es by Lang and the NCPA Symphony Orchestra during the ensemble’s North American tour in October.

The pianist will also conduct masterclas­ses at the NCPA as part of its art education programs.

“Lang Lang is a role model for young people, not just for millions of classical music students, but also for others in China. He bridges cultures with his music and he is an icon,” says Li.

Li also says the pianist has worked with the NCPA ever since the venue was opened in 2007.

On Dec 31, 2007, Lang performed at the NCPA’s inaugural New Year Concert under Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa.

In December 2012, he performed with the NCPA symphony orchestra for the first time, marking the NCPA’s fifth anniversar­y.

Lang gave his first masterclas­s at the NCPA in January 2008, which was followed by two more, in 2009 and 2012.

Speaking at a news conference announcing his appointmen­t as artist-in-residence recently, Lang said: “I can still recall the night in January 2006 after my first New Year piano recital at the Great Hall of the People. At the time, the NCPA was still under constructi­on but the main structure had been completed. I saw it after I walked out of the side door of the Great Hall and I wanted to perform there.”

“I have many unforgetta­ble moments of the NCPA because almost every year I perform there. It’s a great venue. Over the past 10 years, it has contribute­d immensely to promoting classical music in China.”

Speaking about his piano recital in April, Lang says he wants to give the audience something different.

So, besides performing the works of Debussy and Liszt, Lang will also perform pieces by three Spanish composers — Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados — who are not very familiar to Chinese audiences.

In 2009, Lang performed Chopin’s piano concertos with the Vienna Philharmon­ic under the baton of Mehta. In 2015, the pianist and the conductor worked together again.

Referring to his upcoming collaborat­ion with Mehta, he says: “I am looking forward to working with the maestro again.”

Lang will perform works by Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg at the NCPA in December.

I have many unforgetta­ble moments of the NCPA because almost every year I perform there.” Lang Lang, pianist

“I will go to Bergen, the hometown of the composer. I hope the trip will help me better understand the composer and his works.”

Ren Xiaolong, the managing director of the NCPA symphony orchestra, says the upcoming North American tour of the ensemble, under NCPA’s artistic director of music, Lu Jia, will see Lang performing The Yellow River Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall in New York on Oct 30.

Lang was born in Shenyang, an industrial city in Liaoning province. He says he first became interested in learning the piano after watching the Tom and Jerry episode The Cat Concerto, which features the Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 by Franz Liszt.

He first went to Beijing’s Central Conservato­ry of Music and at 15, he began his studies with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelph­ia.

Speaking about his other links with the NC PA, he says :“I have many classmates from the Central Conservato­ry of Music, who are now performing with the NCPA orchestra. So I feel very close to the ensemble.”

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 ?? JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY ?? Lang Lang will stage a piano concerto at the National Center for the Performing Arts in April.
JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY Lang Lang will stage a piano concerto at the National Center for the Performing Arts in April.

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