Lang Lang returns to Universal Music Group

Gramophone Thu 9th February 2017

Future plans include a new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations

Lang Lang with Sir Lucian Grainge (photo: Jordan Strauss)

Lang Lang with Sir Lucian Grainge (photo: Jordan Strauss)

After seven years with Sony Music, Lang Lang has returned to Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon, the label he originally signed for in 2003 aged just 20.

His first recording for UMG will be 'The Piano Book', an album of educational solo piano works connected to the Lang Lang Piano Method. There are also plans for a new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations for DG.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said: '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 made several recordings for Sony, but perhaps his most impressive was 'Live in Vienna', which was named an Editor's Choice in 2010. Of that recording, Gramophone's Bryce Morrison wrote: 'let me say at once that the youthful excess and rampant exhibitionism of much of Lang Lang’s earliest work is today transformed into playing which for the greater part is as stylish and perceptive as it is brilliant…doubting Thomases should take time off to listen to a major talent.'

Another noteworthy recording for Sony was Lang Lang's collaboration with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Mozart concertos. David Threasher was rather more equivocal about this release, concluding, 'The concertos are required listening, though, if only for Harnoncourt’s provacative marshalling of the Vienna Philharmonic and Lang Lang’s cadenzas. On this evidence, however, Lang Lang’s technique and musicianship are not yet equal to the task of penetrating Mozart’s finest music on its own terms.' 

Lang Lang himself is delighted to return to UMG: '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.'

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