Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Lang Lang)
By age 5, he won a local competition and aged nine, together with his father, he moved to Beijing with hopes of gaining entry to the Central Conservatory of Music. He lived in a one-bedroom flat filled with rats that ate his music scores. Yet, he won first prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Japan at 13; and at 15 he began studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under Gary Graffman, a student of Vladimir Horowitz.
Lang Lang explains that he only came to Curtis because of Mr. Graffman. “When he told me I was accepted, it was absolutely the happiest day.” “I was delighted to have Lang Lang as my student,” recalls Graffman. “He played marvelously for a 13-year old, very talented, and he already knew when to blend with the orchestra, and when to look at the conductor.” When Lang Lang first met Graffman, he was amazed that he spoke Chinese Mandarin. “He even knows the different accent between the north and the south.” Lang Lang recalls that from the very first lesson, Graffman broadened his horizons, made him think of the bigger picture in terms of phrasing and voicing. “He gave me the whole picture of many different worlds, many different possibilities.” And it was not just about music, but also about “literature, history, culture and the arts.”
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (Lang Lang)