Chinese piano star Lang Lang to play at ‘The Leeds’

PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM - Leeds International Piano Competition 2012 - Leeds University, Leeds, England - 09/09/12 - Famous Chinese Concert Pianist Lang Lang with Dame Fanny Waterman on the main steps at Leeds University.
PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM - Leeds International Piano Competition 2012 - Leeds University, Leeds, England - 09/09/12 - Famous Chinese Concert Pianist Lang Lang with Dame Fanny Waterman on the main steps at Leeds University.
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One of the most famous classical musicians on the planet is set to tinkle the ivories in Leeds for the first time.

Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who played to around four billion viewers at the opening of the Beijing Olympics, will help to raise money for the world-renowned piano competition ‘The Leeds’.

He was announced as Global Ambassador for the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2012.

Like anyone with a serious appreciation of music, the 32-year-old prodigy was already a long-time admirer of the contest which is famous for launching the careers of numerous maestros including Romania’s Radu Lupu and America’s Murray Perahia.

Dame Fanny Waterman, who founded ‘The Leeds’ in 1961, told The Yorkshire Post: “This recital is a gift for the piano competition and to celebrate my 95th birthday.

“On September 10 he’s going to play and all the proceeds will come to our competition.”

She added: “It’s a great honour for Leeds and I’m sure that the musical citizens of Leeds will really feel most appreciative and honoured to have someone of that calibre coming to the city.

“People come from all over the world wherever he’s playing, you can’t get in.”

Dame Fanny, who turns 95 next month and is set to retire from her role as chairman and artistic director after this year’s event in September, said the concert would raise “several thousand pounds” for her beloved competition, which costs around £1m to stage.

She founded the triennial competition with her late husband Dr Geoffrey de Keyser and pianist Marion Thorpe. Since then it has become one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world, boasting a roster of distinguished winners. The 18th instalment will take place between August 26 and September 13.