Universal signs classical superstar Lang Lang… and it’s very pleased about it

You can generally tell how important a label considers an artist deal by the execs who pitch up to the signing photo.

So Universal must be pleased as punch about inking an agreement with Chinese megastar Lang Lang, who will release his future classical albums through Deutsche Grammophon.

Snapped above with the pianist, you’ll find the likes of Sir Lucian Grainge (UMG Chairman/CEO), Dr. Clemens Trautmann (President Deutsche Grammophon), Dickon Stainer (UMG’s President and CEO of Global Classics), Andrew Kronfeld, (UMG’s EVP, Marketing), Frank Briegmann (UMG’s President & CEO of Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon), Michele Anthony (EVP, UMG) and Jeff Harleston (General Counsel and EVP of Business & Legal Affairs, UMG).

Their thumbs-aloft glee at landing Lang Lang, who has sold millions of albums around the world, might just have something to do with the fact the artist is rejoining Universal after being signed to rival Sony Music for 5+ years.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said: “It is a tremendous honor to welcome Lang Lang home to UMG and Deutsche Grammophon.

“Lang Lang is that exceptionally rare talent who combines artistic excellence and innovative entrepreneurism to deliver exciting new music and experiences to his millions and millions of fans around the world.

“As someone whom I admire artistically and personally, I’m thrilled that UMG will contribute to the next chapter in Lang Lang’s already distinguished career.”

Lang Lang said: “When I met Lucian and his team I was amazed by their open-mindedness and passion for innovation.

“This is exactly the spirit we need to promote classical music in the 21st century. My dream has always been to share music with as many people as possible, and I can’t wait to start working with the Universal teams around the world.”

“As someone whom I admire artistically and personally, I’m thrilled that UMG will contribute to the next chapter in Lang Lang’s already distinguished career.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG

Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of Universal Music Group, said: “Lang Lang is one of the most respected, renowned and boundary-defying artists in music.

“He is simply a superstar and his artistry, music and talent have made an indelible impact on culture, attracting massive global audiences for his live performances, televised appearances and social media. By working together and leveraging UMG’s services including film, television, theatrical, live events, merchandising and brand sponsorships, the opportunities are endless.”

Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics at Universal Music Group, said: “Lang Lang has blazed a trail from China to the rest of the world.

“As an artist, he has helped to captivate and inspire millions of new young classical fans globally since bursting into the spotlight as a teenager. We are thrilled to have him return to Deutsche Grammophon and UMG.”

Frank Briegmann, Universal Music’s President of Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, added: “Lang Lang is quite simply a unique artist and human being.

“As a performer, he never fails to captivate his audiences, including me. Over the years we have shared many wonderful experiences together, and I hold him in the highest respect as a musician. Lang Lang is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is achievable and it is great to be able to walk alongside him once again.”

In 2007, Lang Lang became the first Chinese artist to be nominated for a Grammy Award. He has performed for dignitaries including President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II.

He has reached televised audiences of billions, performing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

The first new recordings under the agreement will be ‘The Piano Book’ – an album of popular piano music – which will be followed by Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

The artist runs the Lang Lang International Music Foundation – dedicated to classical music education for children.

Lang Lang was designated in 2013 as a Messenger of Peace by the Secretary General of the United Nations, focusing on global education.

He has served as a UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador since 2006.Music Business Worldwide

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