Superstar pianist Lang Lang celebrates 100 years of The Walt Disney Company with his new album The Disney Book released on 16 September 2022. This enchanting musical journey features new arrangements, written especially for him, of iconic movie melodies and star guests including Andrea Bocelli, Jon Batiste and Sebastián Yatra.
The Disney Book traces the history of music in Disney films from the 1920s to the present day and includes new versions of songs from Pinocchio and The Jungle Book to Frozen and Encanto. Lang Lang explained, “Animation sparked my imagination and transported me to other worlds. The music was a big part of this experience – and led to my life-long love of classical music. There is such a variety of styles in Disney songs; truly, something to inspire everyone. I hope that people of all ages will enjoy this recording and experience the joy that we all felt the first time we saw a Disney film.”
Watch Lang Lang’s video for ‘Feed the Birds’
The album’s first single, ‘Feed the Birds’ from Mary Poppins, which Walt Disney famously declared to be his favourite Disney melody, is out now. Walt Disney regularly asked co-composers Richard and Robert Sherman to play the song for him in his office on a Friday afternoon and they continued this tradition even after the legendary animator’s death in 1966. Watch Lang Lang’s music video for ‘Feed the Birds’ which was filmed at sunrise in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in California.
Lang Lang has been inspired by Disney music throughout his career. He said, “When I was thirteen, I visited Tokyo Disneyland; it was the first time I had heard ‘It’s a Small World’ and the melody stayed with me all day – and long afterwards.” In 2016 he performed ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen at the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort.
Features Andrea Bocelli, Jon Batiste and Sebastián Yatra
The Disney Book features star guests including Andrea Bocelli performing ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ from Tarzan; singer-songwriter and pianist Jon Batiste with ‘It’s All Right’ from his Oscar-winning Soul score; Colombian singer-songwriter Sebastián Yatra with ‘Dos Oruguitas from Encanto as well as guitarist Miloš, Chinese erhu player Guo Gan, Lang Lang’s wife Gina Alice, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler.
Some of the world’s top arrangers, including Sir Stephen Hough, Natalie Tenenbaum and Randy Kerber, created new solo piano and orchestral versions of Disney’s iconic melodies, evoking the soundscapes of Debussy and Chopin, as well as the virtuosity of Liszt and Horowitz. Lang Lang noted, “These new versions are tailor-made for me. I wanted something really artistic and pianistic.”
The Disney Book is a continuation of Lang Lang’s commitment to music education. Similar to his hugely successful 2019 album Piano Book, a collection of Lang Lang’s favourite pieces as a child which he hoped would motivate young musicians, The Disney Book aims to inspire people of all ages to explore classical music. The recording is a magical gift for all generations and is especially significant for Lang Lang as he recently became a father. He said, “Our son is a year and a half and he loves Disney.”
Superstar pianist Lang Lang has sold millions of albums around the world, topping classical charts and achieving simultaneous mainstream success. As a pianist, educator and philanthropist he has become one of the world’s most influential and committed ambassadors for the arts in the 21st century.
Lang Lang’s new album The Disney Book will be released on 16 September 2022 and can be pre-ordered here.