Hi everyone! I'll be answering your questions beginning at 7pm ET. This is my first Reddit AMA and I'm very excited. :)

My new recording, The Mozart Album, with the Vienna Philharmonic and Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt, is out in the U.S. now. It comes out in the rest of the world by next Monday! http://mozart.langlang.com/

My team is helping me to field questions and to type them out quickly. There may be a delay in answering questions. Thanks for your understanding!

Thank you everyone for joining me. I tried to get to as many questions as I could. There were a lot of great ones! Please make sure to "like" my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/langlangpiano, my Twitter: www.twitter.com/lang_lang and my Instagram: www.instagram.com/langlangpiano

My Proof: https://twitter.com/lang_lang/status/522049333341208576

Comments: 250 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

rziu188 karma

hello!

since i have no shame, which hand would you use for the highlighted notes?. it's from an etude-tableau

langlangpiano167 karma

left

ericyang15894 karma

Wow, hi Lang Lang!

I've been a fan of you since I was very young. I especially enjoyed your recordings of Rachmaninov's 2nd and 3rd piano concertos.

I even have a signed photo with you from many years ago with Dale Chihuly's green piano if you remember that.

Question: What piece in your repertoire is the most fun to play and why?

Thanks so much for doing this AMA!

langlangpiano60 karma

Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca is really fun to play. It's on my new Mozart Album.

langlangpiano8 karma

And I do remember that day. Nice to hear from you again :)

Frajer54 karma

What was it like working with Metallica

langlangpiano76 karma

It was so much fun working with those guys. They're really cool and the way we were able to collaborate on "One" was incredibly memorable for me.

divinewonton40 karma

Thanks for doing this!

What songs can you play on the piano with an orange? And also with other fruits? Is it true that you can?

My family and I are big fans of your piano-playing.

langlangpiano84 karma

Haha. I think just Chopin's Black Keys Etude... :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiziGLe1jBw

Working on trying Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto with a pineapple...

coniform8 karma

[deleted]

langlangpiano23 karma

Genius!

xRIOSxx33 karma

Hi Lang Lang!

First of all, I wanted to say that I love your playing, and am a huge fan of your interpretations of Chopin, Mozart and many others. Your recording of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra is my favourite recording of the piece.

As a student studying in university to become an orchestral instrumentalist, there is often an extreme amount of pressure, stress, and self doubt when trying to get into such a competitive field where standards are so high. While a career as a concert pianist is different from that of an orchestral musician, there are many similarities. What advice can you give to a student struggling with the pressure to improve in such a competitive environment? How did you manage the stress and continue to practice without letting it get to you?

Also, what changes do you think should be made to higher level music education (universities, conservatories etc.), to improve musical development and create more well rounded musicians?

Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

langlangpiano43 karma

Great question, but too much detail to go into here. I'll think about it and post on my Facebook page soon. Thanks for your question!

TriggerPete25 karma

I've heard recordings of you play Rhapsody in Blue with Herbie Hancock a number of times, and they're fantastic. Do you have any interesting stories about your work with Hancock? What kind of impression did he make on you?

Also as the accomplished classical pianist that you are, have you also tried your hand at jazz and improvisation as Hancock did?

Thanks a lot!

langlangpiano48 karma

We played many concerts together. He's such a miracle musician. I didn't know how to improvise on piano before I met him, and he taught me how to open up. The freedom of creating this kind of improvisational art is really inspiring and exciting. I've played a little jazz with Jamie Cullum, too. He's fantastic.

Kampfbiene24 karma

Do you play other instruments besides the piano and what would you call your favorite "recreational" music to just play a little for relaxation?

I really enjoy listening to your interpretations :)

langlangpiano44 karma

I play a little erhu (from my dad). I love listening to pop music for "recreation"

bonostool19 karma

Hi Lang Lang. I'm Aidan, your biggest fan from Ireland!

I absolutely adored your recital in Dublin last time (I was studying and performing Ballades 1 and [3](www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEvj1nZjAiM), and Mozart K310 at the time!). I had brought my Ballades book and your CDs (and um..even try to wriggle my way backstage), in the hope that you could sign them, but you were apparently off to dinner...

I've posted an AMA request for you a while back. I have a couple of questions, no need to answer them all. I would be so so so stoked if you saw this!

  • What is it like, to be such a superstar in the classical world?

  • Had your father not given you any "push", do you think you still would be where you are today?

  • What advice do you have for aspiring musicians/concert pianists (like me!), that you would give yourself when you were a teen?

I'm still over the moon at the fact that you're doing an AMA (and also that you favourited my tweet), you're really a huge inspiration to me. Thanks for taking time to do this. Hope you're enjoying your time on Reddit. Please come back to Ireland some time soon!!!!

Edit: tried to fix youtube link, didn't work

langlangpiano27 karma

Thanks, Aidan. I love Ireland!

  • I'm lucky to be able to introduce a lot of people to classical music, which is an honor for me.

  • Both of my parents were (and are) important influences on my career. He was tough - probably too tough - but it did push me to become a better musician. I generally don't think that parents should push their children into playing music. It should come from the child, but supported and encouraged by parents and teachers. Hope that helps!

imacrazycatlady17 karma

Hello Lang Lang, long time fan here. So excited that you're doing this AMA! Your Chopin album is a favourite of mine - I often listen to it while studying. What advice would you give to a young person who wants to re-start piano after a six-year hiatus?

langlangpiano38 karma

Start basic with the scales! Czerny exercises are good. Also take some time each practice session to play what you love. Don't get frustrated :)

beezeeman15 karma

There are always a minority of people who complain about your playstyle or think that somehow your artistic expression is overboard. How do you deal with criticism during your career?

langlangpiano55 karma

I try not to worry too much about what other people say. Music is music. Life is short! I try to do bring the emotion I feel when I'm playing music, and for me, that's all I can do.

sacrehbluh14 karma

Dude, so what's the deal with the same name twice?

langlangpiano48 karma

Actually, in China the two names are slightly different :)

domnapoleon00714 karma

Hello Mr. Lang,

What advice would you have for a young piano student about studying and learning piano? Is there anything about studying piano you wish you had known when you were young?

langlangpiano42 karma

My advice would be to have fun, but still practice hard. I wish I had known that the two don't have to be opposed.

Kbcbj12 karma

Considering your talent at playing the piano, does this make you fantastic at typing on a keyboard?

langlangpiano31 karma

Not great - pretty good at ping pong, though! :)

jonathon_ez9 karma

I really enjoyed watching you perform w/ Metallica at the Grammys I actually listen to that version of the song and I love it w/ your accompaniment can u tell me what experiences u took away from that show?

langlangpiano20 karma

Thank you! A couple of main experiences - 1, don't sit too close to the pyrotechnics on stage! (there's a video of that). 2, collaborate with as many people in as many styles as possible. There's always something to learn!

PlasticSnail9 karma

Hi Lang Lang! Is there anyone you would really like to collaborate with at the moment?

langlangpiano30 karma

I'd love to collaborate with Jay Z and Beyonce.

Pyriew7 karma

What was it like working with Argerich? What about Rattle?

Who is your favorite pianist?

Holy crap, this is amazing.

langlangpiano6 karma

They're both legends and I learned a lot from them.

eunycorn7 karma

Do you admire Andras Schiff and his playing of bach?

langlangpiano16 karma

Oh, Andras. Of course I like your interpretation! ;)

sergeydgr86 karma

Are there any past performances/recordings you regret producing? I'm a fan of your playing, though I don't really agree with a few of your interpretations.

langlangpiano20 karma

No regrets - they all were from a specific time in my life and each holds significance to me (even if I might play them somewhat differently today)

maasurka5 karma

Hello Mr. Lang! I have seen you perform in NYC a few times and your playing is truly masterful. I've been studying the piano for a majority of my life and as someone who grew up listening and playing music primarily of western composers, I would like to ask, who are some of your favorite Chinese composers? Which composers or pieces would you recommend to someone unfamiliar with eastern classical piano music?
Thanks so much for all that you do!

langlangpiano13 karma

Tan Dun is a great Chinese composer. I also love Qigang Chen. The best advice is just to start listening. It's different from Western music, but music is music!

melloware5 karma

Do you have any tips as a classical pianist for opening up and improvising for jazz?

langlangpiano8 karma

Find good jazz collaborators who are encouraging and learn from them.

erepsac5 karma

Besides the actual playing of the piano, did you have to "learn" to act for the audience when performing? Like the dramatic head swings and shakes and wide hand swings and body motions? Or does it comes naturally when one is totally "into" the music?

langlangpiano12 karma

For me it comes naturally. For others, it may not.

Sputtacus5 karma

How long did you have to prepare for your performance with Metallica?

langlangpiano10 karma

I got the music a couple weeks prior. We had 2 rehearsals together and a dress rehearsal on stage.

escherbach4 karma

Hi Lang Lang,

Are digital pianos OK for a beginner?

(We cannot afford an acoustic piano - even if we could get a second hand one, we would struggle with getting it tuned regularly and have thin walls so could not use the piano in the evenings without annoying the neighbours - so we HAVE to rely on a digital piano - one of the cheaper weighted key Yamaha models (YDP-142))

langlangpiano29 karma

Playing on a digital piano is better than on no piano... Playing on a real piano is better than on a digital piano (generally).

makesasmartremark1 karma

Playing on a digital piano is better than on no piano

Good to hear this, then my work assembling those 50 Rolands for your project in Amsterdam is worth it.

langlangpiano4 karma

Haha. Yes :)

two_off4 karma

How do you like audiences to react and behave during your performances? (listening quietly and cheering after a song vs cheering and shouting throughout a la American Idol / X Factor / reality tv shows)

langlangpiano23 karma

I love it when crowds are enthusiastic! Wait until the end of the piece and not between movements, though! No shouting and cheering throughout, please. It can be distracting.

Eternally653 karma

How old were you when you realized that you wanted to play? How old when you knew you had the talent to do so?

langlangpiano6 karma

I started playing piano when I was 3. I loved it right away!

Susi02 karma

你好郎朗!

First, thank you for doing this!!

I am from Germany, and here’s my questions to you:

  1. I am currently learning the Chinese language, which is so difficult to do! Is there any advice you can give me and other foreign people studying Chinese (especially concerning remembering the signs…)?

  2. Here’s a “musical” question: A music piece is normally written down by the composer the way he wants it to sound. So, in your opinion, where is the room for interpretation? Meaning: What is your definition of the “interpretation” of a piece? Thanx!

  3. I’m going to attend your recital in Stuttgart, Germany, on November 10th (Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhh!)! Is there any chance you would give an autograph session afterwards? Please say YES!  P.S.: I’ll bring my piano so you can sign it.. Ha ha!)

  4. When you’re on the road, do you practice in your hotel rooms, and how do you manage not to “disturb” other hotel guests? What do you do if there’s no silent piano to practice on?

  5. You have been all around the world - so what is your all-time favorite meal?

谢谢!

langlangpiano7 karma

I'll go with 3 and 4.

3) I usually do autograph sessions after concerts. If I do, come say hello. Don't bring your piano though... maybe just a CD or program :)

4) The hotels usually try to put me in a corner of the building but yes, I have gotten calls in the past from other hotel guests that don't like my practicing...

stealthware2 karma

Hey Lang Lang!
What is your favorite piece for piano?

langlangpiano9 karma

Hard to say a particular piece. Mozart is my favorite composer right now :)

Schwarzmilan2 karma

Hi, will you play in Germany in the next time? :) I really love your music!

langlangpiano8 karma

I'll be in Germany for a few concerts in November. Go to www.langlang.com for specifics!

Carly08081 karma

Hello Lang Lang, I'm coming to your concert at Lincoln Centre! So excited!! Are you going to have CD signing afterwards?

langlangpiano3 karma

I don't remember offhand. I'll check!