The thing Lang Lang cannot mention

The thing Lang Lang cannot mention


norman lebrecht

September 02, 2010

Some time during the long summer, I bumped into Lang Lang in a radio studio and took a moment to congratulate him on his techno-comm skills. Lang Lang and his works can be found on every medium of electronic transmission invented up to and including last Thursday. He is tweeted, facebooked, i-Googled, B&N-ded and, in all likelihood, apped on an abacus. He has a brilliant website, updated 24/7.

There is one item, however, that he cannot touch. ‘I can talk about all the new ways of spreading music,’ he said, ‘but I can’t mention the i-Pad on air or in the press.’

‘Why ever not?’

‘Sony…’ he shrugged.

Stands to reason. The Japanese corporation paid $3 million earlier this year to detach the Chinese star from his long-standing connection to Universal Music and is now in a position to call the shots. Sony has developed its own handbook Reader, a rival to Apple’s triumphant i-Pad. If you’re a Sony artist, you don’t talk about a competitor’s products.

Lang Lang looked a bit uncomfortable about this and I was tempted momentarily to ask if he kept an i-Pad under plain covers. It seems a shame to restrict an artist from using whatever he needs and talking about it wherever he pleases. But then that’s what happens when you take the golden hello.

The corporation owns you body and soul.

And you jump when the men in suits say so.




  • GW says:

    It could have be worse. He could have signed a contract as an exclusive Baldwin artist.

  • bobman says:

    Clang Clang AKA Bang Bang leaves this listener cold…the hype and empty (just like the music-making).

  • Tony Two Shoes says:

    Clang Clang! Bang Bang! Brilliant! Just brilliant! There’s an amazing robot operating those fingers. Shame it can’t be programmed to feel anything. Then it would be something.

  • Peter says:

    No wonder he draws his inspiration from the Playstation.

  • Chulei says:

    If he signed a contract with the tough Apple, situation could be worse.
    He is a genius pianist. Those who call him bang bang will never enjoy in the same way as him.

  • Ziggy says:

    All sorts of reasons why he’s as he is. I’m waiting until he hits 50+ (I should live that long!); & hoping he’ll have more depth & maturity by then. Meanwhile, there’s a slew of excellent pianists out there demonstrating greater emotional understanding of what they’r playing. And those are the concerts I prefer to attend.