Born in 1982 in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, first piano lessons at the age of three
Starting 1991 studies in Beijing, starting 1997 in Philadelphia, graduates in 2002
1999 fills in at the last minute for André Watts at the renowned Ravinia Festival near Chicago. His interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto kicks off the meteoric rise of his international concert career
2001–02 debuts at Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms, Wigmore Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, and with the London and New York philharmonics. Since then cooperation with an endless list of world-class concert halls and orchestras
Also the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Leonard Bernstein Award, a Grammy, and three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2015 GQ names him Man of the Year in the Social Media category
Since 2004 Lang Lang advocates for children’s causes as a UNICEF ambassador
2006 plays at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony at Munich’s Olympic Stadium. In 2008 reaches an audience of billions when he performs at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing
Also in 2008, Lang Lang is only twenty-six when he publishes his autobiography Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story
In addition to his concerts and recordings, the pianist frequently finds time to advocate for traditional Chinese music, give master classes, and offer his musical support to numerous children and young people
In spring 2017 he cancels his concerts due to tendinitis in his left arm; he has since had to extend this forced hiatus to over a year and is planning his comeback for summer 2018
Did you know?
Lang Lang is the most-often-googled classical musician. His name is searched around fifty times as often as the number two on the list, Anna Netrebko.
During an official visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao to the U.S., Lang Lang performs at the White House with a program that includes the Chinese song “My Motherland.” This creates a scandal as the piece is viewed as a work of anti-American propaganda.
After playing for the queen the second time, he enthusiastically tells a journalist that “she’s sweet somehow. In fact she’s very sweet.”
When he turns thirty, Lang Lang tells even the media that he’d like to have a girlfriend. Now, at thirty-five, he is in a relationship with an unknown countrywoman. The Asian tabloids even speculate about an engagement or a secret marriage.
In China Lang Lang enjoys the status of a rock star: it is estimated that because of him, around 50 million Chinese children have started learning the piano, an instrument that had up to then been largely frowned upon in the country as “decadent.”
On his website Lang Lang describes himself as a pianist, educator, philanthropist, and ambassador for the arts who is bringing classical music into the 21st century with new technology, and who builds bridges between Eastern and Western culture.
Despite his forced hiatus, Lang Lang plays at Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala in October 2017, entrusting the part of his injured left hand to his fourteen-year-old pupil Maxim Lando.