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Showing Revision 10 created 11/03/2012 by Claude Almansi.

  1. (Talks/Authors/Brewmasters/Comedians/Green/Health/Innovators/Musicians/Artists/Filmmakers at Google)
  2. Artists at Google
    Lang Lang The Chopin Album - Interview moderated by Jeff Spurgeon of WOXR
    October 15th, 2012
  3. [Lang Lang] Good morning. Thanks for being here.
  4. I'm very happy to be here for the second time, but the first time, I wasn't on the stage.
  5. I just - I was just visiting the office - it's a very cool office, I must say.
  6. And yes, I prepared some morning songs for you to wake up.
  7. [laughter]
  8. So, a few Chopin pieces. I will start with one of them, a very beautiful Nocturne
  9. and then, one or two Etudes, and then a Chopin waltz.
  10. So hopefully, we will get really waked after 20 minutes of performance. Thank you.
  11. [Applause]
  12. [Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat major, Opus 55 #2 (?): up to 0:06:44]
  13. [Etude - which?: up to 0:06:11]
  14. (8:11) [Etude in E Major, Op. 10, No. 3: up to 0:13:01]
  15. [Chopin: Waltz op 64 #1 (?): up to 0:16:42])
  16. [Applause]
  17. [Jeff Spurgeon] Hello. I'm Jeff Spurgeon from WOXR, New York's classical station [unclear: info about reception]
  18. You may not know, because nobody told you: this is Lang Lang. [laughter]
  19. He's a classical pianist, reasonably well-known all over the globe
  20. and it's quite a wonderful thing to hear you play.
  21. Let me ask you: what was your warm up for this?
  22. Just this morning: did you warm up this morning?
  23. [Lang Lang] I - I'm sorry, I didn't warm up:
  24. I woke up around 10:20 [laughter]
  25. I mean I was running like crazy - speed - to get here
  26. and I'm really grateful that I - I mean - you are here today, ...... for me. Thank you very much.
  27. [Jeff Spurgeon] It's really wonderful - really wonderful. Thank you
  28. [Jeff Spurgeon] It's extraordinary to have all that music just in your head, just at your command,
  29. just - but that's what you do.
  30. [Lang Lang] Well, as Rubinstein said, you know, one of the greatest pianists,
  31. and he said, he has like 60 piano concertos in his head.
  32. And basically doing - in his 70's or 80's he said:
  33. "Just call me up, wake me up in the middle of the night, like, say, 4 am -
  34. and I can play whatever piece you want - in concert level" Well, I mean that's -
  35. [Spurgeon] I believe it but so can you - but so can you.
  36. He's had - he had a little more practice than you so far,
  37. but you'll be there.
  38. In China, Lang Lang is credited with influencing some 40 million kids
  39. to take up classical piano.
  40. Now, I know that 40 million is not maybe a huge number at Google,
  41. but still [audience laughs] it's a reasonably large number of people - [Lang Lang laughs]
  42. to persuade to take up - and when you think about all the pianos that have to be made,
  43. and all the music that has to be printed,
  44. and all the lessons that have to be paid for,
  45. I would say that you are, without question, classical music's greatest job creator.[laughter]
  46. I don't think there's anybody who's going to do more than that - than you are.
  47. Lang Lang's new album on the Sony label is "The Chopin Album".
  48. It contains at its heart the Opus 25 set of a dozen études, studies for piano,
  49. that you have been studying since I think you were what?
  50. Eight it was when you started to play those things?
  51. [Lang Lang] Yeah, I started to play the Chopin études when I was 8, and -
  52. [Spurgeon] Took them on the road when you were 12 or 13?
  53. [Lang Lang] Yeah, I played the complete études when I was 13, right,
  54. and it was very tiring to play those pieces [laughter].
  55. I mean, it drives me nuts and it drives my neighbors nuts [laughter]
  56. I really feel bad about it, you know.
  57. And, you see, recently I started practicing in my apartment here,
  58. and I started practicing the Chopin études, you know [imitates a few notes]
  59. and then my neighbor knocked at my door: "Can - could you stop?"
  60. [Spurgeon] Really? Did he really?
  61. [Lang Lang] Yeah - no no: I mean,
  62. there's one neighbor who knows who I am,
  63. so she's always like, "Oh, that's really wonderful!"
  64. But then, there's another neighbor, I think, living downstairs,
  65. and - because I always like to practice after 11, you know,
  66. to find inspiration [laughter]
  67. And - and this lady, I think she hates me all the time.
  68. So anyway, that's -
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    [Spurgeon] So you've been playing these since you were 8, playing them in public since you were 13.
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    Why record them now? Why not a little earlier?
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    Why not wait a couple more years? Maybe the wine will mellow a little more in the bottle.
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    Why decide to do these now?
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    [Lang Lang] I mean, since I'm 30, you know, I like to -
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    to do some more repertoire, which I played a lot when I was a kid,
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    and also, you know, putting on new pieces.
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    I actually thought to do the 24 études, the complete cycle,
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    but I actually - I thought maybe I should do something, not just technical pieces,
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    but also very artistic pieces combined for the Chopin first solo for me to record.
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    And also to hear - I was also actually watching the video that I did when I was 13,
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    playing the complete études, and I found (?) a few wrong notes, and I [makes dismayed sound]
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    but now, playing a few of those pieces like "The Winter Wind", "Ocean" études,
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    now I feel slightly easier - slightly.
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    So that seems like a good sign, you know.
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    17 years of practice and my technique is going somewhere [laughter]
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    And - but more importantly, is the musical sense that -
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    there are so many new things I'm trying to reinterpret in this album,
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    that I try to find different colors, like you have here, different levels of colors
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    and the combination of the ...... of Chopin,
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    you know, the Romantic period of répertoire,
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    and especially last year, I did Liszt.
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    So I thought this was a nice moment to do Chopin.
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    So next year will be very different. So -
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    [Spuregeon] What's next year?
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    [Lang Lang] Next year, I will do Prokofiev and Bartók.
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    [Spurgeon] Well! OK So it's very very different, totally different, truly...
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    There's some unusual pieces on this album.
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    The Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, a big favorite of yours,
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    done with orchestra sometimes, but there is the solo version.
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    You've always liked this piece? (22:31)
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    [Lang Lang] Not really. I mean, when I was a [laughter] - when I was a kid, I hated it,
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    because I mean, once - no matter how great the work of art,
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    there are so many pianists playing the same piece, not in a very good level (?)
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    then you will feel kind of bored, you know.
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    And so that exactly happens when I was a kid,
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    you know, I heard so many interpretations of this piece I got totally all around (?)
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    and I didn't like it.
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    Then I came to America and I studied at Curtis' in Philadelphia
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    - Do you know the Philly cheese steak? It's pretty good, yeah -
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    Anyway, so, in Philadelphia, a boy from Kiev, he's - he also studied with the same teacher as me,
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    Gary Graffman
    [Spurgeon] Gary Graffman
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    [Lang Lang] and he played it in a student recital. I was shocked by his playing.
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    I'm like "Wow! This piece is spectacular!"
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    And then I started loving this piece and - thanks to him, of course -
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    and - so sometimes, you know, one amazing performance
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    really changes your entire view of a work
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    and that's what happens in the Spianato and .....
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    [Spurgeon] Now it turns - you played actually a wonderful cross-section of the album
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    just a few minutes ago.
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    There is a piece on this album, it's the last selection called "Tristesse"
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    and it features a singer named Oh Land, who is from -
    [Spurgeon and Lang Lang] Sweden
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    [Spurgeon] She lives in Williamsburg,
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    because most people do.
    [Lang Lang] Right. [Laughter]
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah, Brooklyn is getting .....
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    [Spurgeon] That's - it's beautiful.
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    Can you tell me the story of this, because it's from a film?
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    [Lang Lang] Right, Trist - we did a film during the Chopin year,
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    called "The Flying Machine", so it basically adapts a novel, kind of about Poland today,
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    and as compared to the Chopin's days.
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    So actually, I was actor in this movie and my partner was Heather Graham [inaudible]
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    [Spurgeon] Yeah, Heather Graham - many faces lit up when you said those words. [Laughter]
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    [Lang Lang] Anyway. But that one was pretty classic. ........
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    And so that - that film actually was quite inspiring,
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    because there was Chopin's music and takes the journey of a piano
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    actually, the piano became a flying machine, sort of,
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    we take the kids all over the world.
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    And so, the theme song, we actually thought the Tristesse (?), which is the Opus 10 #3 étude
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    is such a beautiful melody, which I played here, second to the last (?),
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    and so we transcribed that to the theme song,
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    so we got this beautiful voice of - her name is pretty funny: Oh Land -
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    yeah, so, in the beginning I didn't know she's a - I mean is a he or she -
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    but when I heard the voice, I most certainly knew she's a she
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    and she did a wonderful job.
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    [Spurgeon] Yeah. It's a sweet - it's a sweet song
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    and Chopin - lots of people - lots of popular songs have been written on Chopin themes,
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    but this is another and it is just great
    [Lang Lang] Yes.
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    [Spurgeon] Your foundation. Let's talk about that because that's such a big deal:
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    the Lang Lang International Music Foundation - it's going great guns (?)
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    you had some kids I think, from part of that program on the Tonight Show?
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah: two weeks ago I was on Jay Leno -
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    [Spurgeon] Yeah: four minutes of classical music on network television.
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    It was extraordinary. Four whole minutes.
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    [Lang Lang] It was amazing.
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    You know, these days, it's hard to get classical music on
    [Spurgeon] Exactly right.
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    [Lang Lang] anyway, but I mean, Jay is a good friend
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    and I mean, his name is Jay Jay now, after [laughter]
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    [Spurgeon] - the Lang Lang.
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    [Lang Lang] Oh my god, yes, 400 cars (?) -
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    anyway, let's not talk about that.
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    So, we actually had a very fortunate selection of wonderful talents from the Los Angeles area
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    and they - there were - I mean some of the kids I know them before,
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    because they perform with me, my condition-
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    [Spurgeon] Do you mean all kids......
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    10 of them, so Lang Lang played - you played "La Campanella" and the E-flat Waltz
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    that you heard part of here, and then ten kids, five other Steinways around in the room
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    and they are all doing [inaudible]
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah, Turkish March [sings it]
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    [sings on the Turkish March] And that was so beautiful
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    that I really enjoyed working with them, and the way they played, it was magnificent.
    [Spurgeon] [Inaudible]
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    [Lang Lang] And - I mean, I thought I really want, watching, you know,
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    our next generation perform, it's a special moment and for me it's very inspiring
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    and that's what our foundation is wanting to do, you know, to work with the next generation of artists
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    and to - helping them - to support them to achieve their dreams,
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    just like many of the mentors helped me when I was very young.
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    [Spurgeon] So, it's about helping the next generation - not necessarily about classical music?
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    I mean it is classical-focused I think about it (?).
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    [Lang Lang] Yes, it will be focused on classical and piano,
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    but in the same time, we will also - to do some .....(?) with the Grammy people
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    and VHI people, so we're trying to - trying to break the boundaries
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    through these wonderful projects
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    and I created this "101 pianists" project. So -
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    [Spurgeon] You'll have a hundred pianists with you on stage? That's the idea?
    [Lang Lang] Yes - yes.
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    50 pianos, people play 4-hands, the re... is that -
    [Spurgeon] It's also a great job creator too,
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    just for the movers.[Laughter]
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    [Lang Lang] I mean, yeah, the movers were quite happy about this, you know, and this, and -
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    but the reason we wanted this is, as a pianist, we always practice by ourself.
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    It's sometimes very lonely, you know, you are in a dark room, much tougher than this one [laughter].
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    I practice hours, hours, it's - it's hard training and for a kid, it's important to have a partner,
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    like two kids on one piano, so they can talk a little bit.
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    And it's like doing your homework, you know, that type of thing.
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    And then, the teachers can teach them, you know, how to play together
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    and in the end, we all get together to play, and enjoy the music.
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    [Spurgeon] Music making
    [Lang Lang] Yeah.
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    [Spurgeon] October 30th at Carnegie Hall, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation
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    is having a big benefit concert, an evening with Joshua Bell and Dee Dee Bridgewater
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    and the formerly mentioned Oh Land -
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    [Lang Lang] And Alec Baldwin
    [Spurgeon] And Alec Baldwin will be the host
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    and [inaudible]
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    So what's going to happen that night?
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    Just a big bunch of music making, I guess'
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    [Lang Lang] Err yes.
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    [Spurgeon] I mean, do you collaborate, are you doing something with Dee Dee Bridgewater?
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    [Lang Lang] Yes, so - so here I start, playing some Chopin,
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    and then - with Josh - we play the Grieg Violin and Piano Sonata -
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    [Spurgeon] Is he Jay Jay also to you?
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    [Lang Lang] Err - Josh Josh. [laughter]
    [Spurgeon] Just checking.
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    [Lang Lang] And then [giggles] in the second half, we start with 4 hands, 6 hands, 8 hands - and 10 hands.
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    [Spurgeon] [Laughs] On one piano?
    [Lang Lang] No.
    [Spurgeon] OK.
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    Just checking. Just checking.
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    [Lang Lang] Yes, 10 hands on one piano that's -
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    [Spurgeon] Well, you'd know each other very well by the end of the piece, you'd be very familiar.
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    [Lang Lang] Just like the subway, you know
    [Spurgeon] That's right.
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    [Spurgeon] You are a master, at the age of 30, you are a master, recognized around the globe.
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    But are you still a student and do you see any of your old teachers?
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    Gary Graffman was your teacher at Curtis,
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    and then you've done a little bit of work with Daniel Barenboim.
    [Lang Lang] Absolutely.
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    [Spurgeon] When you see them, do you play for them and ask them for their thoughts?
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    Is it a lesson they give you - no - how does it work at this level
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    where you are, in your stage of artistry - with these elder mentors, I guess you'd call them?
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah. I mean, my teachers were, and still are
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    Gary Graffman, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Barenboim
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    and they helped me tremendously, not just technically but -
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    [Spurgeon] Well, I was going to say, they're not going to say:
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    "You missed the E flat in the 40th bar." or - that's not what they do. So, what are they -
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    [Lang Lang] Well, sometimes they do that too. [laughter]
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    But they - because the great musicians like those names, you know,
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    they are much more focused on the understanding
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    and also on the traditional interpretations.
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    So they will show you how the traditional sound.
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    And then we will start discussing about new possibilities -
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    how we recreate those moments that the traditional lights (?).
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    And then, you know, they will help me to find out my ways, you know:
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    I will start to explore some of my ideas on those passages, how I'm going to do it.
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    And obviously, we know that music - there are some, I mean, there are certain styles.
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    but there are not certain rules, you know, so basically, there are lots of alternatives.
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    And the important thing is how to organize the alternatives,
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    and how to - balancing them, having a right pulse (?).
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    And this is the challenge, because you can do lot of interpretations,
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    but if they are unbalanced, if what you start, in the end, doesn't make sense,
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    then all those feelings are wasted, you know,
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    and so, first you free [inaudible], and then you need to limit your interpretations into certain ways.
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    And then, in the concert, you start everything new again, you know,
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    try to get inspired from the actual stage and to recreate new feelings, a new emotion,
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    but aware of that tradition lines, which will hold every interpretation
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    in the right speed and right pulse.
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    [Spurgeon] Right. Well, you're part of that tradition.
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    You're recreating it and making it at the same time.
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    I should say too that there is time for questions from all of you here -
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    a little bit, to just - hold: think of your question -
    [Lang Lang] Hold the line! Hold the line!
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    [Spurgeon] Yeah, exactly.
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    And I've wondered about the transition from Chinese culture to Western culture for you,
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    in music as well, because you grew up playing this music for a very long time.
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    For me, Chinese classical music is - is a little bit strange,
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    and maybe a little bit difficult to listen to, because I haven't had as much experience with it.
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    You've been steeped in both traditions.
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    Do you hear them the same way, or do you switch, sort of from one to another?
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    And you put them together too, because you've done lots of piano transcriptions
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    of traditional Chinese pieces that weren't thought of on a piano. (33:52)
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    [Lang Lang] It's just like this, you know, when you hear American music,
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    when you hear a German music, when you hear a - African music, it's different, you know.
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    But in the same time, it's all called music.
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    It's like music, I mean, in that we try to express similar subjects, similar feelings
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    but use a different wording and a different language.
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    That's a bit like in the music world.
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    I mean, obviously, you have to switch fast with the haste (?) of music making.
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    But in the end of the day, following that (?) I grew up both in the Chinese traditional music
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    and in Western classical,
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    because my father plays erhu, which is a Chinese violin,
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    Yeah - I mean recently, I found a different interesting thing of the difference between fork and chopsticks
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    and the difference between erhu and violin -
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    Do you see the similarity out there?
    [Spurgeon] Interesting.
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    [Lang Lang] Well, erhu has two strings, and violins have four.
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    [Spurgeon] [laughss] and chopsticks: two and a fork, usually four tines.
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    [Lang Lang] Right, here we go. So that's the difference.
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    [Spurgeon] Very good, that's a very good answer.
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    Do you - do you think it's - I mean, one of the things with your foundation,
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    you're helping people to explore classical msic:
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    do you think you can make people like classical music?
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    I was - I feel like, sometimes it's a sales job.
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    Nobody says: "Oh my God, you've got to hear rock n' roll, you won't believe what that stuff is"
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    Nobody says that, but about classical music, some of those people say:
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    "Oh, well, if you haven't heard it, you should maybe listen to a little bit of it."
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    Do you feel like having, I mean, to "sell it"?
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    The idea of it?
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    [Lang Lang] I mean - my experience of it (?) is pretty funny.
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    There are two - there are two experiences of it.
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    The first was in America - and then I'll talk about China alright? -
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    So, first in America, I came when I was 15, and then, I was in a regular high school in Philadelphia.
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    All those "dudes" and "yammies" (?) 36:09
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    And then, they asked me: "What do you do here, in this country?"
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    And I: "Oh, I'm studying classical music." alright (?): "Classical music? what is that?"
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    [laughter] "Oooh, I know, I know - I'll tell you: are you playing the dudes that already passed,
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    like 500 years ago?" [laughter]"You do his work?"
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    I say "Yes, kind of like that but not [inaudible]"
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    I say: "Just think about Shakespeare, right? He died for many years, but still his work is classic, right?"
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    So there, I know we have a serious problem, you know.
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    And then a few years later, I went back to China for - for concerts.
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    And then - ............ (36:55)
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    There's one guy who came and he's like:
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    "I hear so you're recording in the same label as Mozart." [laughter]
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    So, you see, it's a total ........
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    but somehow it's quite funny, right?
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    So - so in a way, that - you know - that gives us the room to sort of have some work to do.
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    But I don't think we need to "sell" this, you know, this art,
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    because classical music is so wonderful - it's just -
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    people sometimes don't know it, that's it: we just need to, you know,
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    using social media and networks and platforms too.
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    [Spurgeon] Can you give an example of social media?
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    - Just kidding, just kidding: it's Google Talk - it's Google
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah. Yeah, I mean, remember, a few years ago,
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    YouTube had a, like a YouTube Symphony Orchestra competition
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    and it was a big phenomenon on internet.
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    And I had the great privilege of being their ambassador for - for the proect.
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    And - so in the future, I mean, today, even like when I tweet or I'm facebooking,
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    I start to share some of the musical thoughts
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    - not just talking about food and movies
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    but to share a little bit of feelings towards, to the music I play.
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    And then, I share some of my favorite links of the great musicians performing
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    and you know, to try to inspire some fans to listen.
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    [Spurgeon] Yeah. Very good, thank you. Alright.
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    You've got microphones over there, so if you have questions,
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    please go to a microphone and we'll .... up and knock you down with Lang Lang.
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    [Q1 from the audience] Hi [name ?] [Inaudible]
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    I'm a father: I've got a 5-year old and a 2-year old (38:41)
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    and for better or worse, my kids are into popular music.
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    [Spurgeon (?)] Good for you]
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    [Q1] Yes. And I'm wondering -
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    So making them sit down and listen to better music, to classical music,
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    is a little help
    [Lang Lang] Than you very much [laughs]
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    [Q1] It is a little heavy-handed.
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    I was wondering, what have you found that really works with kids, to get them engaged
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    and interested in new kinds of music, in particular, classical music.
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah. There are a few compositors which I felt quite - who could have a real good connection to kids.
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    One is Tchaikovsky - piece like Nutcracker or Swan's Lake (?) and -
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    and Mozart - Mozart is probably the best composer to, I mean really (?) inspire the kds.
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    And Chopin, also, I would say: very melodic.
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    Ah, but you wouldn't start with [inaudible] Wagner's Ring cycle, right? [laughter]
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    That's a little hard, yeah.
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    So, good luck! May there is some new - maybe Lady Gaga comes out there. [laughter]
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    [Q2] Quick question, along those lines. I have a 4- and a 6-year old
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    and they like
    [Lang Lang] [inaudible: very tiring?]
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    - they start and stop things, especially my 6-year old daughter.
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    She's interested now in piano.
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    How do I get that going, keep that going, you know, get her -
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    because I imagine little doggy challenges along the way.
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    [Lang Lang] First, get a good teacher. That's very important.
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    And - very important, if you have time, please take her to kids' events,
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    you know, kids' concerts. I'm told (?) Carnegie does a lot of these things
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    and Lincoln Center or - take her to some of the concerts that other kids perform.
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    Because for me, it was the same.
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    The reason I started linking performance when I was very young is because all my friends were musicians
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    and they were actually playing something, and we can actually play together,
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    like two pianos, or three pianos, or violin, playing a trio, a little trio.
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    And music is like a language: we need a communication,
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    we need to use our language, you know:
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    if you learn a new language, you could only use it.
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    You're not interested and you forget about it.
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    So, you know, this communication is very important.
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    [Spurgeon] I know there is at least one more question, it's just - yeah
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    [Q3] [inaudible]
    [Spurgeon] I'll repeat it.
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    [Q3] [inaudible]
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    [Spurgeon] Yes, so the question was, did you - what are your plans for your next recordings.
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    And are you - will you - Bach, specifically.
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah. I mean, I love Bach. When I was a kid, I played Bach's work every week (?)
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    and I tried to memorize a work by Bach every week to train my brain, you know.
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    By the way, after that, you can remember every cell phone number you own (?) [laughter]
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    And really, Bach is - really, now - really challenging, but incredible.
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    Certainly, I would love to record the "Goldberg Variations",
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    certainly I would do more classic repertoire records,
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    but it needs to be balanced.
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    So this year and last year I did all of the romantics,
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    and then next year will be contemporary, and then you know -
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    so, I'm trying to balance the recordings.
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    Thanks for bringing the Goldberg, by the way.
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    [Spurgeon] You, Sir.
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    [Q4] So, there is a lot of talk about - sorry, I'm very tall -
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    there is a lot of talk about bringing classic music to children and I am in some sense a product of that.
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    My father went way out of his way to play clasic music, he reallly enoyed it -
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    and I hated it, as a kid.
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    And I'm here, so that's obviously no longer the case.
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    But I am - I studied, or at least I was taught classical guitar.
    [Lang Lang] Oh?
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    [Q4] And that lapsed for several years while I went to [inaudible].
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    Now I guess a little absence was worthwhile.
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    But what advice would you give towards adults who have a musical sensibility,
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    who have musical appreciation and - I guess in my cast - have or in general cases,
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    do not have some degree of musical training.
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    Because children are taught at a very early age to begin to play classical music,
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    or begin music in general.
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    Is there any sen- is there any fear that I should have for instance lack of dexterity,
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    [inaudible] plasticity of mind.
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    What advice would you give to us adults who want to begin to hopefully - with a lag -
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    reach the kind of level you're operating on? [laugher]
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    [Lang Lang] Well you - you're getting deep with this.
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    Well ah - adult, yeah. I mean there's a app called Magic Piano, which I co-produced.
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    I mean, if you feel it difficult to play the real piano, try that. [laughter]
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    It'll be easier to play because somehow, it plays by itself.
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    Ah, and - yeah, you can certainly buy a piano, which has a kind of a high tech disk
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    and then you just push a - whoever's Chopin, whoever's Tchaikovsky,
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    whoever's Beethoven
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    and somehow - and then, you know, you can, maybe start to see the positions on the piano
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    and try to follow it.
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    But again: I really - I'm really welcoming adults actually learning an instrument.
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    And especially - you had a musical training before, right?
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    So for you, it would be very easy, actually, to pick it up again, you know,
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    the great work you did before (45:02)
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    and maybe now learn do it (?) you will feel more comfortable,
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    maybe you will like it more than when you were a kid.
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    And also, you know, classical guitar is pretty cool,
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    and I'm sure, as, you know, while you're playing, you'll get some new dates or something.
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    [laughter] I mean, that's very important, you know, I know some of my friends who studied
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    - adults - who study piano. I say: "Why are you doing it?" "Oh, I try to impress the girls." [laughter]
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    So, I mean, I know lots of those people.
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    So, it is a good encouragement, right, so -
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    [Spurgeon] The choice of instrument can be important for that too.
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    You'll get more dates with a guitar, probably, than with an accordion. [laughter]
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    Just a thought.
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    [Lang Lang] Guitar is very popular these days, you know,
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    it's probably one of the instruments I can think of, more popular than piano, it's probably guitar.
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    I would like to learn it, actually - guitar - if - maybe I should learn some classical guitar skills from you.
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    [Q4] I'd love to give you a lesson.
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    [Lang Lang] I got new lessons [inaudible].
    [Q4] [inaudible] a teacher.
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    [Q4 and Lang Lang] Thank you.
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    [Spurgeon] Yes, Sir.
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    [Q5] I wanted to ask, when you memorize a piece, is it only technical
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    or do you also memorize, like, how you feel,
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    is it like, before you start playing, do you have to get into the emotion of that piece,
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    or is it just the music getting you there, when you hear it?
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah - that's, that's - yeah.
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    First, sometimes I hear a great music in my ear, whether - any type of music:
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    I'm just trying to get memorized the melodies first.
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    And I want to somehow play on the pianos.
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    But some work, I know it for many years
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    and it doesn't mean that you start to love those - repertoire right away.
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    Some pieces take a few years to digest and then you are like "Wow! I should do it!"
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    And so, first comes to - the general stuff, you know, you read a score after you know,
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    you read it like in this piece you want to learn.
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    So you learn it from the score and you play, simply, by their - just play by your right hand
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    or putting it together like this.
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    And after that, you are trying to - analyzing the piece
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    and using everything you learned from the past, you know,
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    and your head will be like a multimedia screen, trying to take a lot of elements
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    and trying to put those things inside of the music.
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    Because the most important thing is not the note, it's this thing behind the note,
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    the meaning behind the note.
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    So, the more meaning - meanings you're getting, is better for the first work session.
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    And then later, you're just trying to balance the right ones.
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    And you will know the right ones when you're ready.
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    In the beginning, you don't really know, so you try lots of things,
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    and then later you will know, wow, this one will not work,
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    because this is maybe defeating the style of -
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    and then later, after you really understand the dynamics of the score,
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    you start to recreate things.
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    And then, you play for several of your teachers, or your colleagues
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    and you get more ideas.
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    And then, you start looking into this work again, and then you start performance.
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    And when you perform, every day, every time, you should try different things.
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    And after a year, I think you can - you're ready for recording.
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    [Spurgeon laughs]
    [Q5] Thank you.
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    [Lang Lang] Lots of alternatives (?) (48:59)
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    [Q6] My name is ...... I work in Google.
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    I actually have the opposite problem from Samir with me, actually
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    2 and half year old daughter, she actually loves classical music
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    [Lang Lang] Yeah! Here we go! [claps]
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    [Q6] She even goes to sleep while hearing Andrea Boccelli and you playing .....
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    which is very nice.
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    And I have a different question: I want to learn playing the piano myself, as well.
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    [Lang Lang] Wonderful!
    [Q6] Mmm?
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    [Lang Lang] Wonderful, that's a great idea.
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    [Q6] I'm pretty old, you know, 35.
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    My question is actually in 2 parts.
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    First of all, I heard about something called the Suzuki method
    [Lang Lang] [Inaudible]
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    [Q6] Yeah, but I heard conflicting opinions about it.
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    So I wonder what's your take on it?
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    And the second part: is it if - is it a - how do you say it -
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    is it a real ambition to learn to play the piano at such a late age?
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    I mean, to do even something minimal?
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    [Lang Lang] It's never too late.
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    Suzuki method: actually I didn't know this method when I was practicing -
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    then later I know the method, but I've been brought up by just playing scales.
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    So I didn't really have any method, you know, try this method or not -
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    I think that's - maybe it's important for some people,
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    but it's not necessary to be focused on one method,
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    because in the end of the day, there are so many ways of playing piano
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    and you don't want to start (?) with one thing,
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    you know, in the very beginning and you just stop (?) with it.
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    [Q6] Yeah, yeah, but I refer .... Suzuki method, both the father and the child are learning together.
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    I thought that-
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    [Lang Lang] My father also did that, but it was a different kind of method.
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    Yeah he's - he's playing like the strict method. [laughter]
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    But you know, I'm sure it will work for many people.
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    I just wasn't brought up by this method. And I - yeah -
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    I'm always - you know, this is a very challenging way to know:
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    what is the real right, you know, beginning method for kids to learn the piano?
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    We are still trying to figure that out. So once I know more about it, I'll let you know.
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    But seriously, you can always learn piano, no matter how old you are.
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    I have a doctor friend, you know. He's a - a - he's a wonderful doctor and lives in Germany.
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    And he's now, I think, 50 years old. Good guy: 50.
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    He starts, because he always loved the piano,
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    but he never had money to learn when he was very young, he was focused onto medicine, you know.
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    Then somehow his - after he became a very successful doctor -
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    he wanted to - to, you know - to establish his childhood dream,
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    which is to play beautiful sounds.
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    And so he started to learn piano when he turned 42. Seriously, this is a -
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    and he finds a teacher who is very young, like early 20's,
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    but a very good guy, you know, very solid pianist.
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    So he starts learning from him. And you kno what?
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    He just made - this 50-year old doctor just made his finally archive (? Archiv?) recording
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    of ten of his favorite pieces, including the Schumann "Träumerei", you know, "Dreaming",
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    including the Schubert Impromptus, including a Chopin's Waltz, including Liszt's "Consolation".
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    So this guy's like only learned a few years,
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    but he has his golden top ten.
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    So he can open a radio show, you know, .......
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    And he plays very beautiful, I mean the technique maybe is not really there,
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    but he's certainly put his emotions there,
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    which is more important, somehow, you know.
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    And so I'm sure you can do the same and I'm sure you'll be marching on with that (?) [laughter]
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    [someone says something inaudible]
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    [Spurgeon] One more question: you.
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    [Q7] Given the level of evocativeness that you achieve, I have to wonder:
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    do you have some sort of meditative practice other than at the piano?
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    What are your favorite ways to tap into, say, greater levels of humanity?
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    [Lang Lang] Hem. [inaudible] I mean, I - I mean the first really important thing is taking naps. [laughter]
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    Talking about meditation, I mean that's a -
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    that's the first thing to come to my mind,
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    because I'm such a night person, I don't sleep well in the night,
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    I just get over in my mind some strange ideas.
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    So during the day, I like to take, like one-hour nap.
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    And then somehow, that calms me down and I - I feel great.
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    And also, I - I think the best way to - you know - for ourself to get ready mentally
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    is reading books. Read as much as you can.
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    And also, after reading, take a little walk in a park or go to museums.
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    This, for me, is the best way of learning new knowledge and relaxing
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    and this makes me a much better musician and human being . Yeah. Thank you.
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    [Spurgeon] And thanks to everyone here at Google today, and thanks to Lang Lang. Great.
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    [Lang Lang] Thanks!