At a glance: Haiti

Carnegie Hall concert by Lang Lang benefits UNICEF’s Haiti earthquake response

UNICEF Image
© Stefan Cohen/2010
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and renowned pianist Lang Lang with Wyclef Jean (left), Maestro Christoph Eschenbach (right) and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra at the finale of the benefit concert for Haitian quake relief.

By Fran Silverberg

NEW YORK, USA, 22 March 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and world-renowned pianist Lang Lang gave a special performance last night for a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall in New York, to benefit UNICEF’s emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti. 

Mr. Lang performed with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, featuring many of the world’s finest classical musicians under the age of 27. Maestro Christoph Eschenbach directed the programme, which included works by Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev.

The concert was presented by Columbia Artists Management, Inc. and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, and was sponsored in part by Montblanc, a UNICEF corporate partner since 2004. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Angélique Kidjo and Susan Sarandon were in the audience along with other special guests, while Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean made a special appearance with Mr. Lang onstage.

Keeping Haiti in the spotlight

“For the past six years, I have had the honour of being a UNICEF ambassador,” said Mr. Lang. “I know what they are doing to help the children of the world, and I know what they are doing right now, tonight, to help the children of Haiti.”

Mr. Lang also spoke about the power of music to give hope, help heal and serve as a call to action across borders.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, who visited the disaster zone in Haiti shortly after the 12 January earthquake, joined Mr. Lang to thank him, the other artists, Montblanc and the theatregoers for their support.

UNICEF Image
© Stefan Cohen/2010
At the post-concert reception (left to right ) Maestro Christoph Eschenbach , UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and pianist Lang Lang, President and CEO of Montblanc North America Jan-Patrick Schmitz .

Ms. Veneman noted that, with an estimated 38 per cent of the Haitian population under the age of 15 , the earthquake and its aftermath are truly a children’s emergency. She added that continued humanitarian aid would be needed to help rebuild homes, schools, communities and futures for Haitian children and families.

The power of music

At the concert’s conclusion, Mr. Lang returned to the stage with Mr. Jean to perform a finale duet of ‘Gunpowder’ – a song first performed at the Nobel Peace Prize concert held in Norway in January of this year.

At Carnegie Hall, however, Mr. Jean performed a special version of the song to highlight the challenges faced by children and families in recent earthquakes.

The message of last night’s concert was clear: While news coverage of Haiti has wound down in the more than two months since the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of children are still vulnerable and living on the margins, without proper shelter, nutrition, health care or education. Continued advocacy and fundraising efforts will keep Haiti’s most vulnerable children in the spotlight – and contribute to that devastated nation’s ability to build back better than before. 

Prior to the concert, the iTunes online music store released a new recording of Mr. Lang performing Chopin’s famous ‘Polanise in A-flat Major, Op. 53’, also known as ‘Héroïque ’. Fans can download the single at www.iTunes.com or text “HEROIC” to 839863 to get the track delivered directly to their mobile phones or mp3 players. All net proceeds from the sale of this track will be donated to the US Fund for UNICEF to support continuing relief efforts in Haiti.

 


 

 

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