The globally-acclaimed pianist Lang Lang has told that he’s very worried about the current relationship between the United States and China, and is planning a virtual concert in December to try and help bring the countries together.
“I really worry about the U.S.-China relationship. I really hope that … they will go back to the normal speech and the normal way of communication. I really worry about the current situation,” he said.
Lang, who was born in Shenyang, China, was speaking to CNBC from Bejing about the release of his new album, a recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” considered to be one of the most challenging pieces ever written for the piano. He recorded both a live and studio version of the piece in Germany just before the global lockdown.
His comments come as he plans a virtual concert which will include input from U.S. schools that he is working with as part of The Lang Lang International Music Foundation. He started the foundation in 2008 to champion music education and inspire the next generation of musicians.
Lang, who is also a United Nations Messenger of Peace, added that he hopes music can play an important part in getting China and the U.S. back as “good friends” soon.
He has recently returned to Beijing after spending five months in Shanghai during the pandemic crisis, and said life is gradually getting back to normal in China. Concert halls and movie theaters are now open to 50% capacity, and schools are re-opening for the Fall semester.
“It certainly is much more hopeful than three months ago,” he said. “And I see from here to the main road in Beijing is very crowded … So that’s a good sign I would say. Normally I hate traffic, but in this case, I take (it) as a good thing.”
Lang, who plans to return to live performance with an audience in some capacity in the Fall, said he hopes his Bach recordings provides comfort to people during the global pandemic crisis. “Despite the difficult time, we have to make sure life needs to go on, and music is a great way to approach building a bridge to people and to feel more comfortable, to feel more secure and to feel more healed,” he said.
The celebrated musician also spoke of his sadness about the impact the coronavirus crisis on the classical music industry. He cited the recent closure of Columbia Artists, a leading agency that had represented some of the world’s biggest classical artists over its 90-year history, which announced it was closing down at the end of August.
“This is very sad for us … there are many great musicians who cannot perform and then, because of that, the big organizations are falling apart,” he said. Lang said the pandemic had created the biggest challenge classical music has faced in the last 50 years.
“I really hope we will have the vaccine very soon, then we can all take a shot and then we can go back to perform … because worldwide this impact is like nothing before,” he said.