CPR Classical Summerfest Kick-Off Concert: Piano Superstar, Lang Lang

June 13, 2020
Pianist Lang Lang released his new EP on Deutsche Grammophon on June 5, 2020Pianist Lang Lang released his new EP on Deutsche Grammophon on June 5, 2020Gregor Hohenberg
Pianist Lang Lang released his new EP on Deutsche Grammophon on June 5, 2020

The Summer of Stars Concert Series launches CPR Classical's Summerfest on Friday, June 19th and runs for 10 weeks. Each weekend features a full concert that airs three times (Fridays @ 12:30 p.m., Saturdays @ 6 p.m. & Sundays @ 4 p.m.).

Just in time for the start of summer!

Summerfest 2020 kicks off with the Summer of Stars Weekend Concert Series, headlining some of classical music's greatest celebrities for you to hear while listening to CPR Classical in your backyard or living room. Across the ten-week series we'll present violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, conductor Gustavo Dudamel, soprano Renée Fleming, and many more who have graced the stages of Colorado's renowned music festivals.

We begin this Friday with mega-star pianist Lang Lang, listed on Time Magazine's Top 100 in 2009. Steinway named a piano after him. Adidas designed a sneaker for him. He was the first Chinese pianist to solo with many top orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic. Lang is one of the most successful recording artists today; a classical showman who's made rare impact beyond classical music.

His fans marvel at his piano technique, as in this performance of Franz Liszt's “La Campanella.”

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Millions around the world first came to know Lang Lang in 2008 when he played for the opening ceremony for the Beijing Summer Olympics. Jump to 51:30 in this video to see the memorable appearance. Centered among the pageantry, all in white, he gestures as if guiding the playing of a young girl who has joined him on the piano bench, symbolic of millions of Chinese youth who have taken up piano and who he's helped to inspire.

Lang has collaborated across genres, partly to help grow the classical music audience. He's appeared at various Grammy Award ceremonies with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Metallica and Pharrell Williams. He's recorded music for video games like Gran Turismo, and made this cover of the 1973 James Bond movie theme “Live and Let Die” with 2CELLOS, viewed over 5 million times on Youtube.

The Lang Lang Foundation manifests his passion for music education and his belief that all children deserve access to learn music regardless of their background or means, the multi-millionaire himself having come from relative poverty in China. The foundation strives to provide programs that encourage music performance at all levels as a means of social and emotional development.

On June 5, 2020, Lang Lang released “Piano Book EP: Around the World”. This five song EP builds on the 2019 LP release, “Piano Book”, which takes Lang back to the pieces he played and loved as a child, like Beethoven's “Für Elise.”

You can listen to CPR Classical by clicking "Listen Live" on this website. You can also hear CPR Classical at 88.1 FM in Denver, at radio signals around Colorado, or ask your smart speaker to “Play CPR Classical.”