There’s such a lot of dross on TV we forget what a boon the medium can be at times. It is just delightful to find a real treasure. Such was my experience just now when I happened to turn on SBS at 4pm and caught a German documentary, Lang Lang: Pianist of the Middle Kingdom.
A portrait of China’s exceptional concert pianist, Lang Lang. When he was two years old, his father spent half his annual income to buy him a piano. He started playing by ear and when he was three years old started having proper lessons. Now he is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and is recognised for his explosive showmanship and extraordinary skill. Throughout the program, interviews with the artist are interspersed with performances from childhood to the present and ending with one where he performs a Chinese composition, accompanied by his father on a traditional monochord.
“Monochord” actually refers to that most beautiful of instruments, the erhu (pronounced arr-hoo). God, what a pianist, and what a personality!
You will find a profile on Chinadaily.com.cn and can even listen to him play! There is an interview on CNN transcribed here; in the intro it is said: “His name is Lang Lang. And Lang Lang is about to catch fire. Some major critics and conductors believe Lang Lang may very well be the most talented pianist of his generation.” He was born in 1982.
Visit Lang Lang’s official website. Hear him there too, playing some Chinese music. In the documentary, Daniel Barenboim seemed in awe at his talent. I can see why.