|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and Goodwill Ambassador Lang Lang.|
NEW YORK, 20 May 2004 - Lang Lang, the 21-year-old Chinese pianist who has dazzled audiences throughout the world with his musical brilliance and youthful exuberance, was appointed UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador today.
“We are thrilled that Lang Lang will devote his time and talents to improving the lives of children who live far from the concert halls of the world’s capitals,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said at a ceremony at UNICEF House in New York. “Lang Lang has been an amazing ambassador for classical music, and I have no doubt that he will be an extraordinary ambassador for children as well.”
Lang Lang will focus on child survival and immunization issues in his voluntary work as a Goodwill Ambassador. He joins a long list of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors who travel the world on behalf of children, including Harry Belafonte, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Lange, Mia Farrow and the late legendary Goodwill Ambassadors Peter Ustinov, Audrey Hepburn and Danny Kaye.
“I am honored to be taking my place among such renowned champions for children, and I am excited to begin doing what I can to help bring the world’s attention to the pressing needs of children,” said Lang Lang.
Celebrating Lang Lang's appointment, Bellamy presented the Steinway Peace Piano, created by Steinway & Sons to benefit UNICEF through concerts and advocacy events. Lang Lang then performed a brief recital, becoming the first person to play the Steinway Peace Piano.
Lang Lang is considered to be one of the most exciting pianists of our time. He has played with all the major American orchestras and was the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic. He has won numerous awards and has been lauded by critics and admired by music fans throughout the world.
Lang Lang’s unique ability to personally connect with his audiences has given him fame beyond the realm of classical music. He is the subject of a best-selling biography in China and was featured in Teen People’s “Top Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World.” He devotes much of his time and energy to developing young audiences for classical music.
“Lang Lang’s enthusiasm for music and for children is exhilarating and infectious,” Bellamy said. “UNICEF looks forward to a long friendship with Lang Lang.”
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For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
Deutsche Grammophon released Lang Lang's recording of "Live at Carnegie Hall" on March 2nd. The album has been garnering stellar reviews and was praised by Entertainment Weekly’s Gregory Kirschling as “an awesome two-disc recording of the most spectacular recital I’ve ever seen.”
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