Ten years ago, Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang made his collaborative debut with one of the world's leading orchestras, The Philadelphia Orchestra; weeks later, he joined them in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during their centennial celebration tour. This historic event honored over 30 years of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, and the players could not have been more appropriate.
The Philadelphia Orchestra was the first Western orchestra to visit China in 1973, and was dubbed the "symphony ambassador" by both Chinese and American politicians. Returning five times since that State Department–sponsored trip, The Philadelphia Orchestra continues to be a cultural ambassador between our two nations, and recently announced that it is embarking on a cultural exchange to find and nurture young Chinese musicians and composers.
The 19-year-old Lang Lang made his debut performance in China in 2001 with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the suggestion of China Merchants Bank, a sponsor of that event. At that time, they formed a partnership to promote the bank's ideals highlighted by their global principal of "from the society, to the society." For the last 10 years, Lang Lang has been a Global Brand Ambassador for China Merchants Bank, and a true cultural emissary throughout the world. In addition to his prodigious work with charities, it is estimated that 40 million people sought out and began learning to play the piano as a response to Lang Lang's performance at the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
All of this history and extraordinary musical talent comes together once again 10 years later, on October 25, 2011, with Carnegie Hall's presentation of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Lang Lang, performing works by Fauré, Beethoven, and Shostakovich, under the baton of Charles Dutoit. Through their sponsorship of this historic event, China Merchants Bank celebrates another milestone, the third anniversary of the opening of its New York office.
China Merchants Bank was a sponsor of Carnegie Hall's 2009 festival of China, Ancient Paths, Modern Voices. We are proud to welcome China Merchants Bank, and President and CEO Ma Weihua, back to Carnegie Hall.
Related: October 25 The Philadelphia Orchestra with Lang Lang