Pianist Lang Lang honoured by Prince Charles
The virtuoso pianist Lang Lang has become the youngest and the first Chinese artist given an honorary doctorate by Britain's Royal College of Music.
The 28-year-old was one of several artists honoured on Thursday at the college in London. Prince Charles presented Lang with the award.
Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and composer James MacMillan also received honorary doctorates along with Lang.
The award was in recognition of Lang's outstanding achievements as a performer and a philanthropist, inspiring young musicians.
'It's a blessing,' said Lang, who also described the honour as a great motivation.
Each year, the college bestows honorary awards on those who have made an exceptional contribution to the college and the wider musical community.
The famous mainland musician was the first to be permitted to live in Hong Kong in 2006 under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for attracting talented people to the city.
Lang's performance in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was seen by more than five billion people worldwide - making him a symbol of the youth and future of China. He has inspired over 40 million Chinese children to learn to play classical piano - a phenomenon for which US television programme The Today Show coined the phrase 'the Lang Lang effect'.
He appeared in Time magazine's 2009 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The philanthropic pianist has been giving back to children through volunteer activities such as mentoring young pianists, and performing for sick children in hospitals and remote communities.
He also launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, which supports children and music education.
In 2004, Lang was recognised for his efforts by Unicef, the UN's children's fund, which appointed him an international Goodwill Ambassador.
Lang was born in Shenyang , northeastern Liaoning province, to a musician, Lang Guoren. He began playing the piano at the age of three, and by the age of five, he had won the Shenyang Competition and given his first public recital.
Lang Lang effect
The number of mainland children Lang Lang has been credited with encouraging to take up piano: 40m