China's prodigy pianist Lang Lang might not have enough time to practise on the green, but he recently claimed the title as the "Tiger Woods of classical music."
On December 14, Lang Lang was named as the international image ambassador for the Mission Hills Golf Club, the world's No 1 180 holes course located in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.
With the club's support, Lang Lang is to give welfare concerts touring the world, starting off in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dongguan.
"Golf is like music as a tool, touching people's hearts in international cultural and economic activities," explained Lang Lang upon his accreditation.
"I hope the world will be touched by the accomplishments of Chinese in the fields of music and golf," he added.
Born in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, the 23-year-old piano talent has distinguished himself as one of the leading pianists after Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein. He came to international attention when he won the title of the Tchaikovsky International Young Musician Competition at the age of 13. In 1997, Lang Lang entered the Curtis Music Conservatory in the United States and became a top class professional pianist three months later when he signed a contract with the International Management Group (IMG).
The young piano prodigy has stirred a "Lang Lang swirl" across the world with ardent music talent and unrestrained personality that has brought him fame as the ideal interpreter of classical music. In fact, the young classical musician enjoys such popularity that he has as many gigs as any pop singer.
He became the first Chinese musician to play in the White House upon invitation by President George W Bush this October. This was followed by a concert at the European Union headquarters a week later. In November, he played a concert for visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and German President Horst Kohler. He is even scheduled to play at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Germany next year and cooperate with five prestigious symphony orchestras to play 10 classical works within one week in 2007.
Having returned from an overseas tour, Lang Lang appeared at the signing ceremony held at the State Guests' House in Beijing, where he gave an informal concert. When asked about how he felt about his newly acquired title, Lang Lang did not mince his admiration for the legendary golfer. "I feel quite honored when I heard the praise. Woods is an idol of mine, he is the real artist," he said modestly.
(China Daily December 23, 2005)