MSU China Experience via Music

On September 28, Lang Lang performed at Wharton Center for Performing Arts at MSU, in conjunction with “The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts & Culture,” which aims to create dynamic programming throughout the year focusing on the arts and culture in Greater China. The performance was sold out and was a huge success both from Chinese communities and other community members at MSU.

OISS, together with the student media group “Humans of East Lansing” interviewed the Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman at Wharton Center, who shared with us his insights about the performance, the artist and how performance art can promote cultural sharing and understanding.

Screen shot 2015-10-07 at 2.22.40 PM(Bob Hoffman at Wharton Center. Photo by Yu SANG)

About Lang Lang

Lang Lang (Chinese: 郎朗, Pinyin: Láng Lǎng), born June 14, 1982, in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, is a Chinese pianist. He has played with the best orchestras in Europe, the United States and his native China. He is very famous around the world for his concert performances, television appearances, albums and soundtracks. Lang has done much to encourage children and young musicians to like classical music, especially through the international foundation he created in New York in 2008. Lang has won lots of awards and has been seen by millions of television viewers throughout the world. He appeared in Time Magazine’s 2009 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.


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Source: Photo by Detlef Schneider

Why and how did Wharton Center reach out to Lang Lang?

Lang Lang was on tour and his agency who represented him reached out to Wharton programming department and asked if they would have room for him. Hoffman said that they knew Lang Lang had a big following and that people would be interested in seeing him. Classical music doesn’t always sell well here but Lang Lang was a sold out show and it was a great accomplishment to be able to reach so many international students and let them know that the Wharton Center wants to bring more acts like this to the stage, according to Hoffman.

Lang Lang’s performance helped us reach out to international audience, especially the Chinese students and community.

Hoffman said that they tried to reach out to the international students at MSU, but there was a huge barrier. Most students do no know what the Wharton Center is or does but last year they found a student to translate for the Wharton Center which worked really well. With the leading messaging app Wechat they were able to use a resource they did not know much about and reach so many international students. Hoffman said he himself is learning how to use Wechat and he wants to reach every culture and give everyone an equal opportunity to see shows.

“When you look at Lang Lang, he is the world finest pianist. I mean he is a super star. And he is somebody who influences millions of people. In china, he has influenced millions of children to learn piano. So I think we are fortune that we are here on the campus that has a large number of international students appreciate him and know who he is to want to see Lang Lang. We sold out 900 tickets to students and that is awesome”, said Hoffman.

What’s your impression and interaction with Lang Lang?

Hoffman did not actually meet Lang Lang but what was intriguing about him was his personal story. His parents were like one of those “Helicopter Parents” and he actually gave up playing the piano at one point. Hoffman said he wondered what the spark was for Lang Lang to keep playing.

Performing arts promote cultural sharing and understanding.

Everyone at the Wharton Center loved Lang Lang’s Mandarin Mondays. Every Monday he will take a Mandarin word and will teach his audience on YouTube the Mandarin words in English. Hoffman loves that it’s breaking down barriers and that Lang Lang completely brings the Chinese culture to us.

Click on the image below to check out the Youtube link.

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Upcoming cultural performance

The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China join forces at Wharton Center for their inspiring and jaw-dropping performance, Peking Dreams. This production – the very same one they performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We welcome all the MSU students and community to enjoy this great performance with us! For more information, click here: shot 2015-10-07 at 2.23.40 PM

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The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts & Culture

The China Experience explores China through diverse activities including Chinese art, film, music, Screen shot 2015-10-07 at 2.23.54 PMperformances, lectures, events, and exhibits. We explore a country that is rich in history and contemporary art, and that, in many respects, lays at the forefront of social change. Learn more about the China Experience here:

Coming up article about ePIFanynow, an organization that spreads kindness.

Besides the PR Manager at Wharton Center, Bob has another role, the founder of ePIFanynow with the mission to really start a revolution of kindness to the country and world we live in. We will share with you the stories of how Bob started this organization and what they have done to spread the kindness and why he thinks it is important, also, how you can be part of it!

Special thanks to Humans of East Lansing for the co-interviewing and editing.

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