Lang Lang launches foundation to support children’s love of music
By Paula Harrington
NEW YORK, USA, 20 October 2008 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and classical pianist Lang Lang is expanding his commitment to children’s rights by creating an international foundation to encourage children’s love of music.
Launched today at a special performance for children at The Town Hall in New York, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation is dedicated to expanding young audiences and inspiring the next generation of musicians.
Described by the New York Times as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet,” Mr. Lang attributes his phenomenal success to having to audition for distinguished musicians at a very young age. When appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in 2004, his message to children was clear.
Reaching children through music
“I think the best way to reach children is to play them music. This really opens their ears and their minds,” he said.
Among the winners of the foundation’s scholarship today was Anna Larson, 8, from the US city of Boston. “I’m sure many children are very talented and enjoy music,” Anna said, “and I think creativity is a very special gift.”
Every year, the foundation will identify a small number of highly talented artists aged 6 through 12 in auditions with prominent musicians. It will then sponsor their academic and musical studies at top musical institutions in the US and Europe.
The foundation will also cater to a wider group of music students of all ages, sponsoring open rehearsals with the world’s leading symphonies, as well as master classes and workshops.
Successful work in education
Speaking at the launch event, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said it was a privilege to be among so many talented young people – and to experience firsthand the power of music and its ability to bring people together.
Because Mr. Lang’s work with children has been so successful, he has broken new ground in children’s education.
His autobiography – ‘Playing with Flying Keys’, published in 2008 – was geared toward children. The book was so successful that the Steinway & Sons company created the ‘Lang Lang Steinway’, a line of pianos specially designed for early music education. It was the first time Steinway has used an artist’s name to produce pianos in its 150-year history.