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The keys to global success

Passionate pianist maintains a busy schedule as he thrills audiences on world tour in support of new album, Chen Nan reports.

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-15 05:50
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Pianist Lang Lang is touring worldwide, with stops in major concert halls, and performing with top symphony orchestras. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The prolific recording artist released his latest album, Lang Lang — Saint-Saens, in March. During the world tour, he will play Piano Concerto No 2 by the French composer from the album by working with the Cleveland Orchestra and conductor Franz Welser-Moest.

Lang adapts to traveling around the world, under a hectic schedule, naturally.

"I never go out for fun at nightclubs and bars after concerts. I just go back home and have a good time with my family. The only place that relaxes me is wherever my family is. I am happy and feel refreshed when playing with my son," says Lang, who married German pianist Gina Alice Redlinger in 2019. Their son was born in 2021. "My son is always happy and was born with an optimistic personality. He brings me so much joy and I feel like I'm growing up again when I'm with him. I also love reading books and enjoying art, which allow me to think."

Lang's bittersweet story of a hard journey learning music is well-known, especially that of the high expectations from his father.

One day, after watching an episode of Tom and Jerry, the American animated cartoon series, which features Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2, Lang was inspired and became interested in the piano, which he started to play at 3 years old. As a child, he practiced for hours hoping to gain complete mastery of the instrument. His father, a former musician, quit his job to spend time with his son to help him pursue a career as a pianist.

"My goal was clear when I learned to play piano: to surpass the best pianist and to become the best myself," Lang recalls. "I want my parents to feel proud of me, but the core of the matter is that I enjoy music and I want to become the best pianist. That goal has never changed.

"Now, I am in my 40s and my parents are older. My father is half-retired and we have a good relationship," he says, noting that he started to manage his own life and study after he left China and was enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in the United States in 1997.

"Because my father cannot speak English, at that point, I became independent," Lang says, adding that he would not become a pushy father himself.

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