Lang Lang to Play at Olympic Opening Ceremony August 8

Classic Arts Features   Lang Lang to Play at Olympic Opening Ceremony August 8
World-renowned classical pianist Lang Lang - a native of Shenyang in China's Liaoning province - will perform for his countrymen and a live stadium audience of 100,000 at the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Lang joins a list of performers that includes Celine Dion and Taiwanese singing sensation Jay Chou. Soprano Sarah Brightman and China's Liu Huan will duet on the as-yet unheard Official Olympic Theme. NBC recently announced that viewers may expect additional performances by a cast of 15,000 and declared it would be "the most spectacular Olympics Opening Ceremony ever produced."

The event is co-directed by Zhang Jigang and Zhang Yimou ("Raise the Red Lantern", Tan Dun's The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera). It will air live in New York at 7:30 PM on NBC. Please check local listings to confirm broadcast times.

A recent press statement also announced that Lang will appear live from Beijing on NBC's "The Today Show" on Thursday August 7th and in a special segment one week later:

"One of the world's greatest classical pianists, Lang Lang, will perform for over five billion viewers around the globe in the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 World Olympics. Promising to be a highlight of this year's Opening Ceremony, the 26-year old Chinese prodigy has captivated audiences around the world with his virtuosic talent. This unique Olympic performance will no doubt amaze viewers with his unforgettable and charismatic mastery of the piano. Lang Lang will also appear live from Beijing on The Today Show, on Thursday August 7th, and the show will feature a special artist profile on him the following week.

This has been a landmark year for Lang Lang, who, in addition to playing sold-out recitals in major cities around the world, was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and was asked to perform at the 50th Annual Grammy awards, with jazz great Herbie Hancock. Through his tireless work, he has also managed to raise millions of dollars, through numerous performances, for the China earthquake relief efforts. In July, Lang Lang released his moving autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles (Spiegel & Grau) and a book for children, Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys (Random House). His most recent recording, The Magic of Lang Lang, was released through Deutsche Grammophon earlier this year and has proven a chart-topping success, with his album sales ranking him as one of the best-selling classical musicians in the world.

As one of the biggest artists to come out of his country, it is only fitting that Lang Lang will perform at the prestigious Olympic Opening Ceremony, as he represents the new face and hope of China today. In a historic moment leading up to his performance at the Summer Olympics, Lang Lang was honored to be among the last international stars to carry the Olympic torch through the streets of Beijing."

This year's Summer Games, which run August 8-24, are set to boast 302 events in 28 different sports. An estimated 10,500 individual athletes from 205 nations will compete for medals and Olympic glory.

For further information in English, visit the Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

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