Lang Lang takes stage at the Met

Updated: 2015-05-15 11:29

By Zheng Xin in New York(China Daily USA)

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 Lang Lang takes stage at the Met

Chinese pianist Lang Lang talks with China Daily reporters before his recital at the Met on Thursday. [Xiao Lixin / China Daily]

Part of NY museum's exhibition on China

Lang Lang is warming up to playing the piano at museums.

"Playing a recital at a museum is a totally refreshing experience for me, and I'm so looking forward to more performances at the world's museums in the future," said the renowned pianist, who performed a 60-minute recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday evening in New York.

"I have played concerts at museums before, but being in the Met, (this) is my first time," he said. "The Met is not a bad beginning to start with."

The program was tailored for the museum's exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, an exploration of how Chinese aesthetics have influenced Western fashion, organized with the museum's Asian art department and The Costume Institute, which held its popular gala last week.

Lang's performance focused on The Seasons, a lesser-known cycle of 12 short pieces by Tchaikovsky, and a set of Chinese pieces including L Wencheng's evocative Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake.

"We got Chinese pieces including Dance of the Seaweed, Dance of the Carol, Spring Festival Overture Fantasy and Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake, which are designed to go with the ongoing exhibition in the museum," Lang said.

Lang said he hadn't had a chance to visit the exhibition because he had done a concert in Houston on Wednesday, but he was looking forward to the costume show.

For more than half of his 32 years, Lang has been in the spotlight, at venues ranging from the Beijing Olympics to Brazil's World Cup, and from New York's Central Park to Stockholm's Nobel Prizes.

However, to play a recital in a museum is a "total different experience", he said.

Heralded as the "hottest artist on the classical music planet" by The New York Times, Lang has been cited in the past for displaying a little too much showmanship at the piano. Critics have noticed a more mature style.

"Regardless of all the critics, I just want to be real and mature in my own way," he said.

Revered for his virtuosity and energetic style, Lang said being a pianist require more than technique.

"The world doesn't need another machine pianist," he said. "You've got to have the mind, the heart and the gut, together with the skills."Lang also has played a significant role in inspiring the younger generation to take up the piano.Lang introduced Derek Wang, who was selected as a scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation when he was 10 years old, at the end of the recital.

The Lang Lang International Music Foundation, which Lang founded in 2008, focuses on music education and cross-cultural exchanges for young people, he said.