PIONEERING PIANIST AND CULTURAL ICON RETURNS HOME TO UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
SANTA MONICA, FEBRUARY 8, 2017 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a new long-term recording agreement with the world’s most impactful pianist Lang Lang. The agreement, effective immediately, marks Lang Lang’s return to UMG’s artist roster, with future classical albums to be released through Deutsche Grammophon, where he was signed until 2010.
A globally celebrated piano virtuoso, Lang Lang has sold millions of albums around the world, topping classical charts and achieving simultaneous mainstream success. He was nominated in 2007 for a Grammy Award, becoming the first Chinese artist nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist. During the past decade Lang Lang has performed for classical music fans, world leaders, monarchs and dignitaries including President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II. He has reached televised audiences of billions, performing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said: “It is a tremendous honour to welcome Lang Lang home to UMG and Deutsche Grammophon. Lang Lang is that exceptionally rare talent who combines artistic excellence and innovative entrepreneurism to deliver exciting new music and experiences to his millions and millions of fans around the world. As someone whom I admire artistically and personally, I’m thrilled that UMG will contribute to the next chapter in Lang Lang’s already distinguished career.”
Lang Lang said: “When I met Lucian and his team I was amazed by their open-mindedness and passion for innovation. This is exactly the spirit we need to promote classical music in the 21st century. My dream has always been to share music with as many people as possible, and I can't wait to start working with the Universal teams around the world.”
Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of Universal Music Group, said: “Lang Lang is one of the most respected, renowned and boundary-defying artists in music. He is simply a superstar and his artistry, music and talent have made an indelible impact on culture, attracting massive global audiences for his live performances, televised appearances and social media. By working together and leveraging UMG’s services including film, television, theatrical, live events, merchandising and brand sponsorships, the opportunities are endless.”
Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics at Universal Music Group, said: “Lang Lang has blazed a trail from China to the rest of the world. As an artist, he has helped to captivate and inspire millions of new young classical fans globally since bursting into the spotlight as a teenager. We are thrilled to have him return to Deutsche Grammophon and UMG.”
Frank Briegmann, Universal Music’s President of Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, added, “Lang Lang is quite simply a unique artist and human being. As a performer, he never fails to captivate his audiences, including me. Over the years we have shared many wonderful experiences together, and I hold him in the highest respect as a musician. Lang Lang is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is achievable and it is great to be able to walk alongside him once again.”
The scale of his musical achievements are mirrored by an unrelenting commitment to charitable causes, most notably through his own Lang Lang International Music Foundation - dedicated to classical music education for children. He was designated in 2013 as a Messenger of Peace by the Secretary General of the United Nations, focusing on global education. He has served as a UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador since 2006.
The first new recordings under the agreement will be 'The Piano Book' - an album of popular piano music, reflecting his commitment to music education and desire to encourage young people to learn the instrument, which will then be followed by Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
(Photos: © Jordan Strauss)