In the name of the father

By Chen Jie (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-16 10:33

The desperate father hugged his son and cried.

They say that behind every successful man there is a woman. But for world famous pianist Lang Lang, his father has always been the driving force behind the pianist's achievements.

Born in 1954 into a worker's family in Shenyang, Liaoning province, Lang senior showed great interest in music when he was a boy. He learned Chinese flute, the only instrument the family could afford. He also made an erhu fiddle by himself.

But the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) sent Lang into a factory, then to a local acrobatic ensemble before finally he served as a policeman.

The best years of Lang's generation were wasted in the political turmoil, so it was common for parents of their age to pin their hopes on their children. Lang was such a typical father.

When the 3-year-old Lang Lang played a neighbor's piano for fun, his fingerwork amazed their neighbor surnamed Jin, who was the conductor of the performance ensemble of the Shenyang Air Force.

He urged Lang's father to buy a piano, saying his son would be a big star. Believing in his boy's potential, Lang spent 1,700 yuan ($240) - an astronomical sum for a common family at that time - to buy a piano.

In the first year, the father taught himself to play the piano before teaching his son. The next year, Lang took his son to Zhu Yafen, a piano professor of Shenyang Conservatory of Music.

When he realized that Shenyang was too small for his son, Lang quit his job and accompanied Lang Lang to Beijing in 1992. Lang Lang's mother stayed behind to earn money to support the father and son's life and study in Beijing.

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