LANG LANG PERFORMS SAINT-SAËNS’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2 AND CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS
WITH CONDUCTOR ANDRIS NELSONS, THE GEWANDHAUSORCHESTER AND GINA ALICE

JOIN LANG LANG AND GINA ALICE AT 5.40PM (CET) TODAY, 1 MARCH, FOR A YOUTUBE LIVE EVENT,
FOLLOWED BY THE YOUTUBE PREMIERE OF THEIR “FOSSILS” VIDEO AT 6PM

ALSO OUT NOW: A DIGITAL VERSION OF CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS INCLUDING THE OGDEN NASH POEMS NARRATED BY US COMEDIAN AND TV HOST JIMMY FALLON – LISTEN HERE

“Working on this album was an exciting journey of discovery into the world of Camille Saint-Saëns     Lang Lang

Berlin, 1 March 2024. Classical favourites, revelatory discoveries and two large-scale works by Saint-Saëns make up the fantastic selection of French music on Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s latest recording. Released today by Deutsche Grammophon on 2 CDs, 2 LPs and digitally, Lang Lang – Saint-Saëns sees the artist join forces with his wife, pianist Gina Alice, the Gewandhausorchester and conductor Andris Nelsons. At the heart of the album are the magical Carnival of the Animals, Saint-Saëns’s “Grand Zoological Fantasy” for two pianos and orchestra, and the same composer’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2. Also included are a dozen works for solo piano or piano four hands – a blend of Belle Époque favourites and neglected gems by female French composers.

Lang Lang’s decision to open the album with a work that has enchanted generations of young listeners and introduced millions to classical music reflects his mission to attract children to the genre. “Many of us remember Saint-Saëns’s famous Carnival of the Animals from childhood. There are a lot of clever ideas underneath all the fun. He’s making a real statement, but in a very humorous way,” says the pianist. “And of course it was wonderful to record it with my wife, Gina Alice.”

The artists’ reading of “Aquarium” is already available digitally, complete with performance video, as is the piano four hands arrangement of “The Swan” in which Lang Lang plays both parts, while “Fossils” comes out todayalongside the album, again with a video. A filmed version of the full work from the Gewandhaus stage, with Andris Nelsons, Gina Alice and Lang Lang, is available to watch on STAGE+.

As an added treat, DG is delighted to present a digital-only version of Carnival of the Animals which includes readings of the much-loved comic verses written to accompany each movement of the work by American poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971). First voiced by Noël Coward on a recording issued in 1950, Nash’s poems are here narrated by comedian and Tonight Showhost Jimmy Fallon.

The second orchestral work on the album, Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto is, according to Lang Lang, a “magnificent but underrated Romantic masterpiece”. As part of his Saint-Saëns project, a film of the work made live in concert at Leipzig’s Gewandhaus will be broadcast on ARTE on 24 March 2024 and will be available to watch internationally on DG’s audio and video streaming platform STAGE+ on World Piano Day on 28 March.

Lang Lang – Saint Saëns also shines light on music by five female French composers largely overlooked until recent years. The pianist performs D’un jardin clair by Lili Boulanger (1893-1918); Valse lente by Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983); “La toute petite s’endort” from Miocheries by Mélanie-Hélène Bonis (1858-1937); Étude No. 10 by Louise Farrenc (1804-1875); and “Romance sans paroles” from Quatre pièces romantiques Op. 30 by Charlotte Sohy (1897-1955).

Alongside these rarities, he has chosen a series of other smaller-scale works by more familiar French names. Among these are Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte; Fauré’s Pavane; and Debussy’s Petite Suite, a duet with Gina Alice.

Lang Lang continues to perform Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 this season, with forthcoming dates in Berlin (Staatsoper, 11 March; Philharmonie, 12 March), San Diego (12 April), Cleveland, Ohio (2/4 May) and Paris (12 June). He and Gina Alice play Carnival of the Animals in Paris on 14 June and in Wiesbaden as part of the Rheingau Musik Festival on 21 July, when the programme will feature both Carnival and the Second Piano Concerto.

ABOUT LANG LANG

Internationally renowned pianist Lang Lang has sold millions of albums worldwide, topping classical charts and achieving simultaneous mainstream success. Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine, during the past decade he has performed for such dignitaries as President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and the late Queen Elizabeth II, as well as giving sold-out concerts with all of the world’s top orchestras and conductors. Lang Lang has also reached vast televised audiences by performing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and with artists such as Metallica, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock at various editions of the Grammy Awards. In April 2020 he took part in the One World: Together At Home concert, which was broadcast on major television networks and streamed online on multiple global platforms. In June 2022, Lang Lang was announced as an honoree in the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2023. Lang Lang will be recognised in a ceremony next month together with such stars as Paul Walker, Uma Thurman, Lenny Kravitz, Mindy Kaling, the Jonas Brothers, Melba Moore, Pentatonix and others.

The scale of Lang Lang’s musical achievements is mirrored by his tireless commitment to charitable causes, most notably through the Lang Lang International Music Foundation and Keys of Inspiration®. Both a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a UN Messenger of Peace, he has inspired over 40 million children to learn the piano and has developed hugely successful educational programmes. Lang Lang’s recent albums, 2019’s The Piano Book, 2020’s Goldberg Variations and 2022’s The Disney Book, were runaway international bestsellers. He won an army of new fans in 2023 as one of the judges on The Piano, a heartwarming talent show broadcast by Channel 4 in the UK. One of the most influential classical musicians in the world, Lang Lang has over 20 million social media followers. Everything the pianist does is underpinned by his belief that “music makes life better – it heals, unites and inspires, and it makes us better people”.