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On Lang Lang

Updated: 2013-07-11 10:05

On Lang Lang

Chinese pianist Lang Lang shows his Officier des Arts et Lettres (Officer of Arts and Letters) medal after a ceremony at the 47th MIDEM (International record music publishing and video music market) in Cannes January 27, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]

With status comes pride, and no musician from China, representing the hopes and dreams of its billion-plus citizens, has captured his country's heart and soul, as well as the rest of the world's, as Lang Lang. His technique is insurmountable; he can play anything. His artistry is pure, mature, the perfect balance of freedom and security… Lang Lang is a citizen of the world, a musician par excellence, and a human being and friend who cares not only about the people with whom he makes music, but also the public, especially young ones, that, like China, are the future.

John Axelrod, American conductor, currently Music Director of l'Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire in France

Say what you will about Mr. Lang's piano playing — in the past I have found him elegant, hyperbolic, generous and gaudy, often in the space of a single performance — but his instinct to extend the benefits of his fame to others is entirely laudable.

Steve Smith of The New York Times on Lang Lang’s gala at Carnegie Hall in June 2013 to raise funds for his foundation that showcases new talents. The concert raised $1.2 million.

(Lang) advertises his love of performing simply by the way he charges onstage, and he creates a giddy atmosphere as he negotiates hairpin turns at high speed.

Alex Ross of The New Yorker on Lang’s recital at Carnegie Hall in 2007

It was not simply his colossal technique that impressed but the deep and instinctive musicality behind it. There was none of the emotional reticence many Western listeners associate, rightly or wrongly, with Asian classical artists.

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune music critic, commenting on one of Lang’s 2000 concerts

In the dinosaur classical world, Lang Lang's youthful glitz is as prized as stardust… I can think of no other classical artist who has achieved Lang Lang's broad appeal without dumbing down.

Emma Pomfret, critic for Times of London

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