Chinese piano superstar Lang Lang makes his long-awaited return to Ottawa as guest artist at the National Arts Centre Gala on September 22
On Saturday, September 22, a glittering evening beckons as the NAC Gala returns for a sixteenth year. The Gala features Music Director Pinchas Zukerman leading the NAC Orchestra in a sparkling, unforgettable concert which showcases superstar Chinese piano phenomenon Lang Lang. Mr. Lang — who is guaranteed to display his trademark dazzling charisma, electrifying technique, and undeniable cool – is featured on both halves of the Gala concert, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 as well as Chopin’s Grand Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 22. All monies raised benefit the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust, the primary resource for youth and education funding at the National Arts Centre.
Chaired for the seventh year in a row by Mrs. Laureen Harper, the NAC Gala is now unquestionably Ottawa’s most exciting social event of the year, attracting A-list names from the worlds of politics, media, the arts, the judiciary, the public service, and the diplomatic corps. The spectacular event begins as all guests walk the red carpet into the NAC Foyer, where a pre-concert reception begins at 5:30 p.m. – featuring complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres devised by NAC Executive Chef Michael Blackie. The Gala concert begins in Southam Hall at 6:30 p.m.
SPONSORS OF THE NAC GALA
This year, the National Arts Centre Gala welcomes CIBC as the new Presenting Sponsor. Associate Sponsors are Vale and Shaw Communications Inc. The NAC Gala is pleased to welcome back Major Sponsor A&E Television Networks. Other top sponsors include Bombardier Inc., Quebecor Media Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., Emond Harnden LLP, RBC Royal Bank, The Ottawa Citizen, and Le Droit.
WHO IS LANG LANG?
Lang Lang (which means "brilliance of the sky") born on June 14, 1982, in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, is a concert pianist, currently residing in New York, who has performed in sold-out recitals and concerts with leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and China. Lang is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and the top American orchestras. He is increasingly well known around the world for his concert performances, television appearances, albums and soundtracks.
At the age of two, Lang watched the Tom and Jerry episode The Cat Concerto which features the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt. According to Lang, this first contact with Western music is what motivated him to learn piano, and he began lessons with Professor Zhu Ya-Fen at age three.
The New York Times wrote, “The hottest artist on the classical music planet may well be the Chinese pianist Lang Lang” and he was hailed by Time magazine in 2009 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Lang Lang’s performance at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was witnessed by more than 4 billion people worldwide and is said to have inspired more than 40 million Chinese youngsters to take up the piano. He was one of the few non-British performers (playing Lizst's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 and Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue) at Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in June 2012. His heart-stopping concerts have sold out worldwide -- causing a truly unprecedented cultural frenzy.
A Chicago Tribune music critic called him “the biggest, most exciting young keyboard talent I have encountered in many a year of attending piano recitals.” Lang has garnered praise from musicians and critics around the world; the conductor Jahja Ling remarked, “Lang Lang is special because of his total mastery of the piano... He has the flair and great communicative power.” It is often noted that Lang successfully straddles two worlds – classical prodigy and rock-like “superstar.”
LANG LANG, YOUNG PEOPLE, AND MUSIC EDUCATION
Lang has stated that his mission is to share classical music around the world, with an emphasis on training children and young musicians through education. The Financial Times noted that he is “evangelical in his efforts to spread the popularity of classical music.” In 2008, Lang launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation in New York with the support of the Grammys and UNICEF. The Foundation was created to enrich the lives of children through a deeper understanding and enjoyment of classical music and to inspire and financially support the next generation of musicians.
In 2011, Lang Lang Music World was launched, which is a multi-functioning arts complex located in Shenzhen and Chongqing, China, where children can go to receive piano education, participate in master classes and competitions, attend concerts and purchase Lang Lang-brand educational products. With the mission of sharing Lang Lang’s global view, experiences and knowledge in piano education, the Lang Lang Music World nurtures and provides exclusive opportunities for young talent.
By performing at the NAC Gala in support of the National Youth and Education Trust, Lang Lang continues his dedication to making music education more accessible. As well, Lang Lang will give a masterclass for a select group of music students while in Ottawa for the NAC Gala.
A STATEMENT BY LANG LANG
Lang Lang says, “I am really looking forward to the National Arts Centre’s Gala celebration and I applaud the work the NAC does with young people. My International Music Foundation is dedicated to working with young people all around the world to demonstrate the power and importance of music. I want every child to have access to music experiences as I believe it will help educate them, as well as help bridge cultural divides that exist throughout the world.”
“…unique and even breathtaking technical ability … he can hold an audience as few others can with playing that is remarkably musical.”
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, May 13, 2012
“Lang Lang, known for his showmanship as well as for his brilliance …carried the day with a bravura performance … one of the greatest piano techniques in the world.”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post, September 27, 2010
"Lang Lang has conquered the classical world with dazzling technique and charisma."
National Public Radio (USA), Morning Edition, 2009
The NAC Gala with Lang Lang takes place in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Saturday, September 22 starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $95, $155, and $190 and include the pre-performance reception. Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 1-888-991-2787 (ARTS); Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website www.nac-cna.ca.
For additional information, visit the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca
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Communications Officer, NAC Music
Telephone: 613 947-7000, ext. 335