Lang Lang Receives Honorary Degree from the University of Leeds

Lang Lang, the world-famous Chinese pianist, educator and philanthropist, received an honorary degree from the University of Leeds on Saturday.

During the final of the Leeds International Piano Competition, for which he was there to present prizes to the competition winners, Lang Lang was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music.

Receiving the award in front of a packed crowd at the University’s Great Hall, Lang Lang told the audience: “It’s a great honour to receive this incredible honorary doctorate from the University of Leeds – which is one of the best universities in the world. The Finals of The Leeds will stay in my memory for a long time. It has been a privilege to witness so much extraordinary talent on stage.”

Every year, the University of Leeds honours numerous distinguished individuals for exceptional contributions in the service of society. A United Nations Messenger of Peace, Lang Lang was picked as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2013 for his efforts in expanding global education.

Speaking of the honorary award, University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said:

“As an ambassador for the arts through his Foundation, [Lang Lang] has shown his passion for education, supporting talented young pianists in their professional development and leading the way in ensuring classical music remains relevant in the 21st century.

“Lang Lang has influenced and inspired people in every continent. His name is synonymous with excellence: in music and in education, he is a role model for young musicians the world over.”

This year’s International Piano Competition was a huge success, with 20-year-old Eric Lu from the US taking home the top prize. Eric received a £25,000 cash prize, alongside the Dame Fanny Waterman Gold Medal and a host of portfolio-expanding career opportunities.

The ceremony can be watched online, here:

All rounds of The Leeds remain available to watch and listen to on BBC iPlayer. The finals will be broadcast at 7pm on BBC FOUR television on Sunday 23 September.

Robbie Cairns