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20 July 2022, 16:06

Capital to host master's class

BEIJING, 20 July (BelTA - China Daily). - Piano virtuoso Lang Lang announces collaboration with the NCPA to establish a Beijing branch of his music school, Chen Nan reports.

"Your left hand portrays a scene, where the waves dance and sparkle. Your right hand makes the sound, which is like a singer singing beautifully," says pianist Lang Lang.

When his student, Xu Zihang, plays Chopin's Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op 22, Lang shares his understanding about the music piece.

"As the waves move forward, the singing goes along smoothly," he adds, humming the melody while waving his hands. "Here, the waves become stronger and the singing could be more dramatic."

Xu, who has been studying at the Juilliard School in New York for two years and now takes classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plays the music piece again and makes changes based on Lang's instruction.

When another student, Lin Zihan, plays the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C Major Op 2 No 3, Lang stands by the piano, demonstrating crescendo and decrescendo by raising and lowering his head.

"Beethoven was a lion. He had a very strong personality, even when he was a young man, or let's say, a little lion," Lang says. "When I learned to play his music, I had misunderstandings. His works are very expressive, which need us, interpreters, to be very careful and fully deliver the meaning behind his musical notes."

Xu and Lin are among six music students who received one-to-one tutoring at a master class held at the NCPA Taihu Stage Art Center in Beijing's Tongzhou district on Saturday.

The venue was packed with about 700 children and their parents, who also attended Lang's master class.

"I love sharing my ideas about music pieces, as well as my personal habits and problems I deal with during my daily practice," Lang says. "As a teacher, I like making every musical note come to life. It's great to give every bar a special character."

The pianist ended the master class by playing excerpts of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations, which was received warmly by the audience, among which was Lang's teacher, 94-year-old pianist and music educator Zhu Yafen.

"She has never watched me playing Goldberg Variations and today I dedicate this music piece to her," Lang announced. In 2020, the pianist released two new recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations, one live and one recorded in the studio. Lang first began exploring the masterpiece 20 years ago and presented his recordings as the outcome of a personal, emotional journey.

It is no coincidence that Lang decided to give his master class at the NCPA Taihu Stage Art Center. A year ago, Lang opened a studio at the art center.

The pianist's photos, albums and trophies are displayed in the studio, including an award certificate from 1989, which shows the pianist, 7 years old at the time, winning a piano competition in his hometown in Liaoning province.

He had some ideas for the studio, especially for students. The master class on Saturday was his first project after launching the studio.

"It's been a year since I launched my studio here and it took me, my team and the team of the NCPA a very long time to present this master class," says the pianist, adding that they arranged the date for a weekend, hoping to attract more people to the event.

On Saturday, the pianist also announced a new collaboration with the NCPA Taihu Stage Art Center-establishing Taihu Lang Lang Music World, a music school catering to young music students.

In 2011, Lang launched his music school, Lang Lang Music World, and so far it has been established in three Chinese cities: Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

He says that it's been his longtime wish to launch a school in the capital and that the collaboration with the NCPA Taihu Stage Art Center started right after the launch of his studio.

"I look forward to having new piano teachers and new students join us at the new school. We are working on it now," he adds.

The NCPA Taihu Stage Art Center was launched in 2018 by the National Center for the Performing Arts, an iconic venue in downtown Beijing. Covering an area of nearly 60,000 square meters, the art center has multiple indoor and outdoor theaters, rehearsal rooms and areas to keep technical equipment, costumes and sets.

"Lang Lang visits the NCPA every year to perform and give master classes. He is an old friend," says Li Zhixiang, vice-president of the NCPA. "For music learners, Lang Lang is a good teacher, since he has a remarkable harmonic imagination and he knows how to bring that imagination to life through music."

The partnership between Lang and the NCPA started in 2007.The pianist mentions some key events. For example, on Dec 31,2007, Lang performed at the NCPA's inaugural New Year concert under the baton of Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa. In December 2012, he performed with the China NCPA Orchestra for the first time in a concert marking the NCPA's fifth anniversary.

Lang gave his first master class at the NCPA in January 2008, which was followed by two more in 2009 and 2012, respectively; and in 2018, he performed with Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the NCPA.

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