Illinois Students Get Up Close with Piano Phenom Lang Lang

Pianist Lang Lang inspires millions with his open-hearted, emotive playing, whether he is performing in intimate recitals or on the grandest of stages, for world leaders or for children in need. On Thursday, September 29, 2016, he took the stage at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in front of a packed house that included nearly 1,000 University of Illinois students in the 2,000-person audience.

This electrifying musician broke into superstardom at age 17, when he was tapped as a last-minute substitute soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Today, his resume reads like a bestseller. He has been heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times, has played sold-out concerts in every major city in the world, and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic orchestras. He has been named a member of the “Time 100″—Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World—and a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Following the rousing performance which included Debussy’s Ballade, L. 70, Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B Minor, S. 178, Albéniz’s Six selections from Suite Española, Op. 47, Granados’ Two selections from Goyescas, Op. 11, and De Falla’s Danza ritual del fuego, Lang Lang graciously came to the front of the stage to greet the rush of students for autographs and photographs. He even donned one of the Center’s “I (heart) KCPA” shirts made popular by the Krannert Center Student Association!

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The Center’s strong commitment to bringing people together through the arts (and keeping it accessible through our $10 U of I student tickets!) fits perfectly with Lang Lang’s own artistic sensibilities. As he has noted,  “Music makes life better. It heals, unites, and inspires, and it makes us better people. Music is powerful.”

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