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Last updated: October 28. 2013 4:37PM - 554 Views
Associated Press



FILE - In an Oct. 2, 2013 file photo Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang arrives for the Classic BRIT Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in central London.   Lang was selected by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday Oct. 28, 2013,  to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace.   (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, file)
FILE - In an Oct. 2, 2013 file photo Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang arrives for the Classic BRIT Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in central London. Lang was selected by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday Oct. 28, 2013, to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, file)
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(AP) China's superstar pianist Lang Lang became a United Nations Messenger of Peace on Monday, a role he called more important than his music because it can help improve the lives of children around the world through education.


Being a Messenger of Peace is the highest honor bestowed by a U.N. chief on accomplished individuals in any field.


Lang Lang, 31, said he was "really awed" by his new role and the responsibility that comes with it.


"Last night, I couldn't sleep thinking about it," he said at a news conference. "Playing concerts it's one thing, but to give back to the society, I think is even more important as a human being."


He joins 11 other prominent world figures who advocate on behalf of the United Nations as Messengers of Peace, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, primatologist Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboin.


Lang Lang, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, for 10 years, said it is "a great honor" to be the first Messenger of Peace from China.


"China has become a very important global player," he said. "I think especially the next generation of Chinese we would like to be much more open to work with different parts of the world, and I think the U.N. gives me the perfect platform to start looking into that."


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Lang will focus on a key U.N. priority: Getting 57 million children around the world who are currently not receiving an education into classrooms.


Lang said he will continue work with the foundation he started five years ago to train talented students to be future musicians and creating easier access to youngsters with no music background.


"Children and music are my passion," he said, adding that he hopes to expand the foundation's work in the U.S. and the rest of the world, including China.


Ban said Lang first became interested in piano "as a three-year-old watching Tom and Jerry cartoons."


He is now "one of the most exciting and accomplished musicians of our time," performing with leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and China.


After accepting a pin and certificate from the secretary-general, Lang treated the crowded news conference to Chopin's Waltz Number 1. He said chose the composition to honor the occasion because it's a beautiful piece that brings "wonderful joyful feelings."


"So for me, I think it was a good piece to wake everybody up," Lang said.


Begged for an encore, Lang wrapped up the press conference by playing a new Chinese piece that said "has a cool name Sea Weed."


Associated Press
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