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Classical Piano Sensation Lang Lang16:48
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Classical pianist Lang Lang being interviewed by Meghna Charkrabarti at Boston Symphony Hall. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Classical pianist Lang Lang being interviewed by Meghna Charkrabarti at Boston Symphony Hall. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Lang Lang is one of the most famous classical pianists in the world today. A superstar, really, at just 30 years old. But his story begins before he was born in Shenyang, in northeastern China. His mother played classical music to him while in the womb. When he was two years-old, his parents spent half their yearly income to buy him a piano. His father pushed him hard, sometimes terribly hard, and soon, Lang Lang was winning international competitions and playing in the world's most famous concert halls.

Lang Lang makes his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut tonight and tomorrow. He has an explosive, emotional style at the piano. Watching him play is a thrill.

But it's that uber-passionate style that's led some critics to tut-tut at the Chinese phenom. No one questions his technique, but they do question, as one critic put it, "his exaggerated flamboyant persona".

I imagine that in his teens and 20's, such criticisms had to sting. However, speaking with Lang Lang on stage at Symphony Hall, I sensed a more mature musician. One who understands that his great gift may be stirring passions in even the most frigid of audiences, reminding them through the power of his play why they're called classical music lovers, after all.

Guests

Lang Lang, classical pianist.

Video

This segment aired on March 1, 2013.

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