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郎朗 (pinyin: Láng Lǎng) Lang Lang was two years old when he saw Tom playing piano in The Cat Concerto, a Tom and Jerry cartoon on TV (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor composed by Franz Liszt). According to Lang Lang, this first contact to Western music was what motivated him to learn piano.[1] He began lessons at age three with Professor Zhu Ya-Fen. At the age of five, he won the Shenyang Piano Competition and played his first public recital.[2]

When he was nine years old, Lang Lang was nearing his audition for Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, but he had difficulties with his lessons, and was expelled from his piano tutor’s studio for lack of talent.[3] His music teacher at his state school noticed Lang Lang’s sadness, and decided to comfort him by playing a record of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 10 in C Major, K. 330; she asked him to play with the slow movement. This reminded Lang of his love of the instrument. “Playing the K. 330 brought me hope again,” recalled Lang years later. [3]

Lang finally entered the Conservatory, studying under Professor Zhao Ping-Guo. In 1993, Lang won the Xing Hai Cup Piano Competition in Beijing, being awarded first prize for outstanding artistic performance at the Fourth International Young Pianists Competition in Germany the next year.[2] In 1995, at 13 years of age, he played the Op. 10 and Op. 25 Chopin Etudes, at Beijing Concert Hall and, in the same year, won first place at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians’ Competition in Japan[2], playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.

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