Lang Lang

For every musical prodigy, there will be a score of rabid critics eager to decry and defame. This is certainly true for Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang. His was a troubled career from the start. At 9 years old, after winning contests and playing highly regarded public recitals, Lang Lang was invited to audition for a spot at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music. However, he was quickly dismissed by his tutor for lack of talent, although he was eventually accepted in the program a few years later. Fast-forward to today and Lang Lang is still the subject of hot critical dispute. Although some praise him for his expressive, sometimes-bombastic style, others decry him as little more than a piano-pounding child, citing his bravado as immaturity and lack of sensitivity to his subject matter. Regardless, all can agree that Lang's performances have an air of spectacle, with Lang frequently channeling Jerry Lee Lewis' physical animation behind the bench.

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