|Pianist Lang Lang named UN peace envoy
Chinese pianist Lang Lang became a United Nations Messenger of Peace Monday, a role he called more important than his music because it can help improve the lives of children around the world through education.
Lang Lang, 31, said he was “really awed'' by his new role and the responsibility.
“Last night, I couldn't sleep thinking about it,'' he said in New York. “Playing concerts _ it's one thing, but to give back to the society, I think is even more important as a human being.''
He joins 11 other prominent world figures who advocate on behalf of the United Nations as Messengers of Peace, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, primatologist Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Lang Lang, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the UN children's agency, UNICEF, for 10 years, said it is “a great honor'' to be the first Messenger of Peace from China.
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said Lang Lang will focus on a key UN priority: Getting 57 million children around the world who are currently not receiving an education into classrooms.
After accepting a pin and certificate from the secretary-general, Lang Lang treated the crowded news conference to Chopin's Waltz Number 1. He said he chose the composition to honor the occasion because it's a beautiful piece that brings “wonderful joyful feelings.''
“So for me, I think it was a good piece to wake everybody up,'' he said.
Begged for an encore, Lang Lang wrapped up the press conference by playing a new Chinese piece that said “has a cool name _ Sea Weed.''—AP