Who is Lang Lang? Discover His Life And Music

Lang Lang is one of today’s most famous classical musicians. Here’s everything you need to know about the great pianist.

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Lang Lang photo
Lang Lang. Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Olaf Heine

Who is Lang Lang?

Lang Lang is a Chinese pianist, who was born in Liaoning in China in 1982. He is now one of the most familiar names in classical music and has been credited with inspiring millions of children to take up the piano in China – a phenomenon which was been dubbed the “Lang Lang effect”.

Lang Lang – the young pianist

Lang Lang has often said that he was inspired to learn to play the piano after seeing an episode of Tom and Jerry which featured Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. He gave his first public recital at the age of five and he went on to study at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music and, later, at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Lang Lang the global superstar

The pianist began to come to the world’s notice in the early 2000s, with a Carnegie Hall debut in 2001 and a BBC Proms debut later that year. In 2009 his meteoric rise continued when he was included in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world and in 2011 he performed at the Last Night of the Proms.

Lang Lang has also collaborated with many artists outside classical music – including Metallica, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock. He’s now said to be worth around $30m (£22m).

Who is Lang Lang’s wife?

The pianist secretly married fellow pianist Gina Alice Redlinger in June 2019, announcing the news in a series of glamorous wedding photos on his social media channels.

Lang Lang’s music and albums

Lang Lang began his recording career with Telarc before moving to Deutsche Grammophon. After several years with Sony he has now returned to Deutsche Grammophon and today he released his new recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. “I’ve been studying this work for more than 20 years, and recording it has been a lifelong dream,” explained Lang Lang.

Lang Lang - Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria

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Other recordings include Piano Book, a collection of short popular pieces often played by those learning the instrument, which was the best-selling classical album worldwide in 2019; a recording of Chopin’s Piano Concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta; and Lang Lang was nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist at the 50th Grammy Awards for his recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4 performed with Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris.

Lang Lang’s arm injury

In 2017 Lang Lang was diagnosed with tendinitis and had to take a break from performing. He returned to the concert hall in July 2018.

The Lang Lang Effect

Lang Lang is passionate about music education and launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation in 2008 which aims to educate, inspire and motivate the next generation of music lovers and performers. He also set up the Lang Lang Piano Method, which includes a series of piano books for learners, “to inspire today’s kids with my passion for the piano.” His international fame sparked the “Lang Lang effect” as millions of children in China took up the instrument.

He’s also worked with Steinway to create special pianos for young players – called ‘Lang Lang Steinway’.

Lang Lang’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is out now and can be bought here.

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