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Chinese pianist Lang Lang was born on June 14, 1982, in Shenyang, China. Labeled "the world's most successful pianist" by German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, Lang Lang's fame has by far eclipsed that of most classical performers. Hearing Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in a Tom & Jerry cartoon inspired him to learn the piano at the tender age of two; at the age of five, he already gave his first public performance and won the Shenyang Piano Competition. He entered the Peking Conservatory at the age of nine and then won his first international award at the fourth International Young Pianists Competition in Ettlingen, Germany, when he was 11. Beginning in 1999, when the 17-year-old wunderkind played the First Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto together with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he rose to international fame and toured the world, recording several albums along the way. He played Carnegie Hall on April 2001, and the show was sold out. While his emotional, dynamic renditions of several classical pieces have found both praise and criticism, Lang Lang's star rose even further when he appeared in several high-profile German TV shows in 2006. His album Memory, on which he plays compositions by Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt, reached number one on the Billboard classical chart. The same year saw the release of Dragon Songs, a DVD chronicling Lang Lang's tour through China. Lang Lang also performed on the soundtracks of The Banquet (scored by Tan Dun) and The Painted Veil (composed by Alexandre Desplat). ~ Christian Genzel