Continuing his presence on the world stage, Lang Lang was featured at the 2008 Grammy Awards, pairing up with jazz great Herbie Hancock for an astounding performance that was broadcasted live to 45 million viewers worldwide. The two pianists continued their collaboration with an inaugural world tour in summer 2009.
For nearly a decade Lang Lang has been giving back to children around the world through volunteer activities as diverse as mentoring rising young talented pianists, convening 100 piano students in concert, performing for sick children in hospi¬tals, delivering classical music recitals in underserved and remote communities, and donating his musical talents to raise awareness of other charitable causes. Lang Lang’s charitable efforts led to the recent launch of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation with the mission of inspiring the next generation of classical music lovers and performers by cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology, and building a young audience through live music experiences. Through the strategic work of his new foundation which is committed to children and music education, Lang Lang works with exceptional partners to inspire young people to believe that music can make life better. The Financial Times once described Lang Lang as “evangelical in his efforts to spread the popularity of classical music.” In May 2009, Lang Lang and his three chosen young scholars from the foundation – aged between 6 and 10 years old – performed together on The Oprah Winfrey Show on "Oprah's Search for the World's Most Smartest and Most Talented Kids." Lang Lang is deeply committed to creating and participating in programs that bring sustained interest for music into the lives of children. As he noted after the Foundation launch event, “I have taken on a second career!”
In 2011, the Lang Lang Music World was launched, which is a multi-functioning arts complex located in Shenzhen and Chongqing, China, where children can go to receive piano education, participate in master classes and competitions, attend concerts and purchase Lang Lang-brand educational products. With the mission of sharing Lang Lang’s global view, experiences and knowledge in piano education, the Lang Lang Music World nurtures and provides exclusive opportunities for young talent through its unique platform.
Lang Lang continues to give master classes regularly throughout the world at the invitation of the most prestigious music institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Hanover Conservatory, as well as all the top conservatories in China where he holds honorary professorships. He has held music residencies, which include master classes for exceptional students, in Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, London, Rome and Stockholm. In addition to his numerous commitments, Lang Lang holds the title of the first Ambassador of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. His role in this groundbreaking project, created by YouTube and Google, reflects his devotion to building new audiences and bringing classical music to young people worldwide.
In the 2010-11 Season, Lang Lang performed at the opening night of Christoph Eschenbach’s inaugural season with the National Symphony Orchestra as well as the opening of Carnegie Hall season with Vienna Philharmonic. The Salle Pleyel in Paris presented the “Lang Lang Festival” which included a joint concert between Lang Lang and Roberto Alagna; the Southbank Center in London presented the “Lang Lang Inspires” which included the “Massed Piano Project”, on which he played with 100 young pianists on 51 pianos. In addition, he performed on the New Year’s Eve concert with the New York Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center, also held residencies in Milan, Madrid and Sydney.
In the 2011-12 Season, he will be the Creative Director of the Ascent Series at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and hold residency. At the beginning of the Season, he will perform at the San Francisco Symphony’s 100th Anniversary Gala concert and the Last Night Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In addition, he will be on tour with the Concertgebouw, Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
His biography, Journey of a Thousand Miles, published by Random House in eleven languages, was released to critical acclaim. As part of his commitment to the education of children, he released a version of his autobiography specifically for younger readers, entitled Playing with Flying Keys.
Tens of thousands of people have enjoyed Lang Lang’s performances in open-air concerts in parks and venues around the globe, including Central Park in New York City, Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Theaterplatz in Dresden and Derby Park in Hamburg. Lang Lang participated in the opening concert at Munich's Olympic Stadium with Mariss Jansons, marking the commencement of the World Cup Games. In celebratory concerts for the closing of 2008 Euro Cup finals, Lang Lang played with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta in front of Schönbrunn Palace.
Continuing his work with world-famous conductors, Lang Lang has performed under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbühne, Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin at the Philharmonie, and Seiji Ozawa for the New Year’s Eve gala opening of the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
In December 2007, Lang Lang was guest soloist at the Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm, an event attended by Nobel Laureates and members of the Royal Family. He returned as soloist for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony and concert for President Barack Obama.
Lang Lang has become the face of numerous global campaigns. Steinway has recognized Lang Lang's popularity with children by creating five versions of the “Lang Lang™ Steinway” designed for early music education. This is the first time in its 150-year history that Steinway has ever used an artist’s name to produce pianos. Lang Lang is also a global brand ambassador for Sony Electronics, with whom he anticipates achieving innovative and creative possibilities for the future. Lang Lang recently signed on to represent Aegon's worldwide financial services, and he is proud to continue his relationship with Audi Automobiles as their Global Brand Ambassador.
Lang Lang began playing piano at the age of 3, and by the age of 5, he had won the Shenyang Competition and had given his first public recital. Entering Beijing’s Central Music Conservatory at age 9, he won first prize at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition and played the complete 24 Chopin Études at the Beijing Concert Hall at age 13. Lang Lang’s break into stardom came at age 17, when he was called upon for a dramatic last-minute substitution at the “Gala of the Century,” playing a Tchaikovsky concerto with the Chicago Symphony. Following this gigantic debut, he performed successful concerts around the world. The Times in London remarked: “Lang Lang took a sold-out Albert Hall by storm… This could well be history in the making.”
Lang Lang has made numerous TV appearances, including The Today Show, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show and 60 Minutes among many others. He has been featured on every major TV network and in news and lifestyle magazines worldwide, including such diverse publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, Vogue, The Times, Financial Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Die Welt, Reader’s Digest and People. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “biggest, most exciting keyboard talent encountered in many years,” Lang Lang has progressed from one triumphant appearance to the next.
Lang Lang has performed for numerous international dignitaries including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, President Hu Jin-Tao of China, President Horst Koehler of Germany, H.R.H. Prince Charles, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Poland President Lech Kaczynski. Most recently, he performed for President Barack Obama and President Hu Jin-tao at the White House State Dinner.
In 2004, Lang Lang was appointed International Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Lang Lang has contributed and worked to raise funds and awareness for earthquake relief efforts in China and Haiti. These efforts included auctioning the red Steinway piano played during his 2008 New York Central Park concert, donating the net proceeds to the American Red Cross China Earthquake fund, and organizing a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, donating the net proceeds to UNICEF’s Earthquake Relief Fund in Haiti. As Chairman of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award Project, Lang Lang celebrates another aspect of arts commitment. He also currently serves on the Weill Music Institute Advisory Committee as part of Carnegie Hall’s educational program and is the youngest member of Carnegie Hall’s Artistic Advisory Board. He has been added as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders picked by the World Economic Forum and received the 2010 Crystal Award in Davos. In May 2011, Lang Lang received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the Royal College of Music. In December 2011, he was honored the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China.
Lang Lang is the featured soloist on the Golden Globe winning score “The Painted Veil” composed by Alexandre Desplat and can be heard on the soundtrack of “The Banquet” composed by Tan Dun. All of his albums have entered the top classical charts as well as many pop charts around the globe. His album of the First and Fourth Beethoven Piano concertos with L’Orchestre de Paris and Maestro Christoph Eschenbach debuted at #1 on the Classical Billboard Chart. Lang Lang also appeared on Billboard’s New Artist chart at the highest position ever for a classical artist. In 2007, he was nominated for a Grammy Award, becoming the first Chinese artist to be nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist. He was honored by The Recording Academy with the 2007 Presidential Merit Award; past recipients have included Zubin Mehta and Luciano Pavarotti. Lang Lang recently recorded the movie soundtrack of the Japanese blockbuster film “Nodame Cantabile,” Chopin 24 Etudes for “Project Chopin” (the largest project in honor of Chopin’s bicentenary) ,“Nuit De Mai” with Placido Domingo and performed the opening sequence for Gran Turismo, the most successful videogame of our time. In February 2010, Lang Lang joined Sony Music Entertainment as an exclusive recording artist; his first album with Sony features a live recording of his 2010 recital at Vienna’s legendary Musikverein.