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Lang Lang Plays to Help Haitian Children

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Accomplished Chinese young pianist Lang Lang and his collaborators held a fundraising concert on Sunday night to support UNICEF's quake relief efforts in quake-torn Haiti.

Before the concert which was held at Carnegie Hall, Lang told an audience of some 2,800 that the 100,000 U.S. dollars, raised by the concert and through other channels, would be used by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to help quake-affected Haitian children.

"On behalf of over 4 million children of Haiti, I want to say, to each and every one of you, a heartfelt THANK YOU," said Lang. "Often, music asks for support. Tonight, with your help, music gives support."

Lang's collaborators at the concert were legendary German conductor Christoph Eschenbach, who is now in his seventies, and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra from Germany, which made its debut on the night.

Famous pieces of piano music played at the concert included Mozart's Piano Concerto No.17 in G Major, Prokofiev's Symphony No.1 (Classique) in D Major, as well as Beethoven's "Leonora No. 3" Overture.

Having served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for six years, Lang said "it seemed only fitting that an evening that puts young artists in the spotlight also benefit an organization that seeks to improve the lives and futures of the children in need."

"UNICEF not only helps the children during this crisis, but it also invests in their future long after the rescue missions and emergency relief have moved on," he said. "The lives of these Haitian children have changed forever. UNICEF can provide the children with hope for a brighter future."

Lang and Eschenbach had scheduled a 21-city North American tour to celebrate their decade-long cooperation. But when news of the Haitian quake came, both artists felt compelled to bring their show to New York for one night to support UNICEF's quake relief efforts in the Caribbean nation.

UNICEF's aid efforts in Haiti mainly focus on providing clean water and sanitation, therapeutic food for infants and small children, medical supplies and temporary shelters, particularly for children who are separated from their parents or caregivers.

Children make up about 50 percent of the Haitian population.

Lang and Eschenbach started their cooperation in 1999 when the conductor invited the then 17-year-old pianist to play instead of an ailing soloist at a famous festival in Chicago. It was since then that Lang had started to build his reputation as a world-class pianist and his artistic friendship with Eschenbach.

After the night in New York, the two artists and the orchestra will continue their month-long concert tour in North America.

(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2010)

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