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Lang Lang wins International Artist of the Year at Classic Brits

3 October 2013

Lang Lang: International Artist of the Year
Lang Lang: International Artist of the Year© JM Enternational

Lang Lang has won International Artist of the Year at the Classic Brit Awards 2013, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The pianist – who opened the ceremony with a rousing rendition of Khachaturian’s ‘Sabre Dance’ from Gayane, with violinist Nicola Benedetti – was praised for his efforts in broadening the popularity of the piano. Through his volunteer work with children he is said to have encouraged more than 40 million children in China to learn to play the instrument.

Dressed in a deep red suit, Lang Lang accepted the accolade with obvious enthusiasm and took to the stage again for a solo performance of Chopin’s Grand valse brilliant Op 18, complete with the flashing lights and abstract visuals that often accompany his artistry.

Pianists were to the fore at this year’s event: Daniel Barenboim received Male Artist of the Year, and sent a video acceptance message in his absence. Ludovico Einaudi performed Experience from In a Time Lapse and was nominated for Composer of the Year, but missed out to Hans Zimmer, who performed a medley of his recent film scores at the piano, supported by the London Chamber Orchestra.

Elsewhere, Nicola Benedetti triumphed as the winner of Female Artist of the Year and German operatic tenor Jonas Kaufmann won the Critic’s Award. The event closed with a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti, whose posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to his widow Nicoletta Mantovani by one of the remaining Three Tenors, José Carreras.

The Classic Brits – formally ‘Classical Brits’ – have been dubbed 'unashamedly populist' and ‘fundamentally tacky’ by cultural commentators. Last year the critic Paul Morley wrote that ‘the ceremony was the bewildered, if sparkly love child, of the Eurovision song contest and the Last Night of the Proms, with somehow a dash of the 1970s Miss World, Brucie’s Strictly Come Dancing, and William and Kate’s wedding’. Benedetti used her award acceptance speech to urge viewers to listen beyond the music on offer at the ceremony.

The awards will be broadcast on ITV, Sunday 6 October at 10:20pm



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