Aged nine, Lang Lang, the virtuoso Chinese pianist, was told by his ambitious father to kill himself after his teacher 'fired' him for having no talent. He tells Rosanna Greenstreet about the extreme pressure put on him to succeed
... Lang Lang's father does not understand English, but in the past, he has spoken about the way he pushed his son. He said: "The way I see it is, pressure always turns into motivation. Lang Lang is well aware that if he fails to be outstanding at playing the piano, he has nothing."
Lang Lang disagrees. "I think that attitude is wrong because there are a lot of things you can do in the world," he says. "When I was nine, I didn't like my father. I knew he had dedicated his life to me, but I thought it was too much. I found the pressure unnecessary because I was a workaholic from the very beginning. I could understand if I was lazy and didn't care, but I didn't need that kind of push, because I knew what I wanted."
Lang Lang says: "When we came to America, my father could see that the American system was much more relaxed. At that time he said he still believed in the Chinese way. But as we met different musicians from different countries, his opinion changed. He is 58 now and his personality has totally changed, he doesn't push me any more. When I turned 22, he let go."
Asked whether his father feels bad about the way he hot-housed his only son, Lang Lang replies: "I think he does. When journalists ask him about it, he starts to cry."
Read Entire Article Here