Lang Lang, Chinese pianist of rock-star fame was designated United Nations Messenger of Peace on Monday October 28, 2013. The announcement was made by U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon who said that Lang Lang will focus on global education. The three goals of the Global Education First Initiative are: getting every child in school; improving the quality of learning; and fostering global citizenship.Messengers of peace are celebrities mainly from the fields of film, music, literature and sports who promote U.N. activities and ideals through public appearances and media contacts. They are initially chosen for a period of three years, although three of the current 12 messengers have served for more than 10 years. In designating Lang Lang as Messenger of Peace, Mr. Ban said: “Lang Lang is one of the most exciting and accomplished musicians of our time. He has performed for world leaders and worked with some of the greatest orchestras and maestros. But he has also used his art and ability to inspire audiences to improve the lives of children everywhere.” Indeed, the 31-year-old pianist has become a role model for many children around the world, not the least millions of Chinese youngsters (40 million on last estimate) he has inspired to take up classical piano, referred to as the “Lang Lang Effect.”
Watch a video clip of the announcement:
Hailed by some as among the world’s finest, Lang Lang has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the past ten years, and has used his musical talents to raise funds for the organization. He joins the list of distinguished classical musicians who are current and former Messengers of Peace: Daniel Barenboim (2007), Midori Goto (2007), Yo-Yo Ma (2006), Wynton Marsalis (2001), and Luciano Pavarotti (1998).
Lang Lang was born in the industrial city of Shenyang, China and was inspired at the age of three by a piano playing cat in “Tom & Jerry”. Driven by a fiercely ambitious father, Lang Guoren, whose own musical aspirations were hampered by the Cultural Revolution, Lang Lang acquired musical skills that brought him international attention at an early age. He has worked with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors performing in sold-out music halls around the world.