Lang Lang has established himself among the world’s top pianists. The musician has released more than a dozen studio albums, earned spots at the top of the Billboard classical charts and performed at such high-profile events as the Grammy Awards, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a state dinner at the White House for Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao. His latest album, New York Rhapsody, released on September 16, takes as its inspiration New York City—the place he considers his second home. As such, he’s a natural fit as our first-ever NYC Cultural Tourism Ambassador.
“Each neighborhood has its own sound and rhythm,” says Lang Lang of the City. “All of it inspired my music.” The album includes standards like “Rhapsody in Blue” and more unexpected cuts like the Spider-Man theme, which features a collaboration with YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling. Other guest stars come from a variety of backgrounds: R&B singer Andra Day, digital pioneer Herbie Hancock and the actor Jeffrey Wright, among others.
Lang Lang discussed his love for New York City with us in the following video. Read on for a few of his recommendations for things to do and see around the five boroughs, and listen to a Spotify playlist of the musician’s favorite NYC songs here.
Lang Lang’s Favorite Things About New York City
- Carnegie Hall, where he played at 18 years old.
- Broadway shows, including The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and, coming soon—much to his anticipation—Frozen.
- Chinese food in Flushing, Queens, and Manhattan’s Chinatown.
- Floats at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (he got to ride on a Sesame Street–themed one in 2008).
- The Steinway Piano Factory in Queens: “The first time I went there, it was magnificent to feel what a true handmade piano was like.”
- Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Opera, for great performances.
- Times Square: “The area is bustling and diverse—it feels like the movies.”
- Empire State Building: “Don’t miss the breathtaking view.”
- DUMBO, Brooklyn: “It’s an awesome neighborhood for dating, because there are so many restaurants and coffee shops.”
- New York Botanical Garden: “A getaway with birds, plants, flowers—everything you want.”
- Shopping on Fifth Avenue and the Upper East Side, as well as in Soho.
- Walking the City, like taking a jaunt alongside Central Park and passing the American Museum of Natural History on the way.