Lang Lang

“I can easily express all kinds of mood through classical music, and I believe others can understand me,” he asserts. His joy apparently is infectious: his performances have inspired countless Chinese children to study the piano.

Lang Lang represents the new face of classical music, with a charisma minus the stuffiness common to classical pianists of the past. Here’s an artist unafraid to reveal his admiration of many styles of music and willing to show that he’s not always locked away in a studio practicing with dusty sheets of music.

On his website, multiple video excerpts from his concerts, bookended by rock music, demonstrate his virtuosity. And, for those who can’t get enough of him, his merchandise can be purchased through his site.

His performance schedule of 150 concerts per year would crush lesser mortals, yet he still manages to squeeze more into his busy schedule: he currently represents Montblanc as a cultural ambassador at various events, for example. He also fosters young musicians through his foundation and, more recently, celebrated Expo 2010 Shanghai with the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

It’s hard for him to quantify what first drew him to the piano. “I think we chose each other,” he reveals.

This year, with the support of Montblanc, Lang Lang has put his talents to recording an album titled Hommage à Frédéric Chopin to commemorate what would be the composer’s 200th birthday. The album is a mixture of Lang Lang’s personal favorites and more universally known pieces.

“I hope to bring more people into the classical world through Chopin’s music. That would be the most valuable thing for his bicentennial,” he says.

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