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Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story by…
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Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story

by Lang Lang

Other authors: David Ritz

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Interesting story of classical pianist Lang Lang from childhood to young adult years. The amount of practicing he did was amazing in addition to the drive and ambition of both himself and his extremely demanding father. The insights on life in China also added to the interest. ( )
  gaylebutz | Feb 22, 2014 |
A interesting story, The story of Lang Lang a young Chinese boy who was discovered at a very young age to havea great musical talent. His family were prepared to sacarifice everything for him to become number one which is an all important concept for the chinese to be number one in their chosen field. As a young child it was practise practise practise with not much time for anything else. The goal was to enter every competition that you could and to win them for that was how they measured success. Lang Lang was lucky enough to win a scholarship to study in the West in America and this gradually changed his atitude for then he was advised by his teacher to stop entering the competitions and concentrate on the music not where the music would take him. This was very hard for his father to accept but in time he was able to let his son take control of his own life. This was helped partly by the fact that his son had the command of English that he did not have. And it was in America that Lang Lang was able to live a more normal life and discover the other things that the world has to offer such as art , literature, poetry and sport. Lang Lang hasnever forgotten the world of poverty that he has come from and while he himself travels the world playing with all the famous orchestras in all the famous concert halls, living in the lap of luxury he is concerned about what is happening in the rest of the world and has become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. Well worth a read.. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Jan 13, 2010 |
On the one hand, Journey of a Thousand Miles does a good job of showing how Lang grew into a master of his instrument. Lang describes a disciplined childhood and a demanding father, a cycle of successes and setbacks, a struggle between the desire to excel and the desire to be normal.

On the other hand, Lang does occasionally come off as a braggart as he enumerates his many accomplishments. Perhaps this can’t be avoided when the subject of the autobiography is someone who has achieved so much in so short a time.

Read the rest of the review. ( )
  ConcordiaSalus | May 7, 2009 |
Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang relates the story of his life in China and his musical training which eventually led him to the United States to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. The most affecting parts of the story involve the sacrifices made by his family. He and his father moved from their hometown of Shenyang to Beijing when Lang Lang was eight years old so that he could gain entry to a music conservatory in Beijing. But his mother stayed behind in order to work and send them money. His father was a stern taskmaster and demanded that his son be number one in competitions. At one point in Beijing, when his piano teacher (dubbed Professor Angry by Lang Lang) had dropped him as a student because she felt he would never become a great pianist, Lang Lang's father gave him a bottle of pills and told him he should swallow the pills and kill himself, rather than continue to live in shame. Or if he wouldn't take the pills, then he should fling himself off their eleventh-floor balcony. For weeks afterward, Lang Lang refused to play the piano, and the rift with his father took many years to completely heal. I couldn't help but wonder as I read this part of the story, having recently watched the Olympics in Beijing, if Chinese athletes face the same sort of pressure to excel at all costs. Lang Lang faced some disappointments, but eventually triumphed as he was invited to perform with major orchestras around the world and gained recording contracts. ( )
  dbartlett | Nov 24, 2008 |
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Ritz, Davidsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385524560, Hardcover)

“Number One” was a phrase my father—and, for that matter, my mother—repeated time and time again. It was a phrase spoken by my parents’ friends and by their friends’ children. Whenever adults discussed the great Chinese painters and sculptors from the ancient dynasties, there was always a single artist named as Number One. There was the Number One leader of a manufacturing plant, the Number One worker, the Number One scientist, the Number One car mechanic. In the culture of my childhood, being best was everything. It was the goal that drove us, the motivation that gave life meaning. And if, by chance or fate or the blessings of the generous universe, you were a child in whom talent was evident, Number One became your mantra. It became mine. I never begged my parents to take off the pressure. I accepted it; I even enjoyed it. It was a game, this contest among aspiring pianists, and although I may have been shy, I was bold, even at age five, when faced with a field of rivals.

Born in China to parents whose musical careers were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, Lang Lang has emerged as one of the greatest pianists of our time. Yet despite his fame, few in the West know of the heart-wrenching journey from his early childhood as a prodigy in an industrial city in northern China to his difficult years in Beijing to his success today.

Journey of a Thousand Miles documents the remarkable, dramatic story of a family who sacrificed almost everything—his parents’ marriage, financial security, Lang Lang’s childhood, and their reputation in China’s insular classical music world—for the belief in a young boy’s talent. And it reveals the devastating and intense relationship between a boy and his father, who was willing to go to any length to make his son a star.

An engaging, informative cultural commentator who bridges East and West, Lang Lang has written more than an autobiography: his book opens a door to China, where Lang Lang is a cultural icon, at a time when the world’s attention will be on Beijing. Written with David Ritz, the coauthor of many bestselling autobiographies, Journey of a Thousand Miles is an inspiring story that will give readers an appreciation for the courage and sacrifice it takes to achieve greatness.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Born in China to parents whose musical careers were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, Lang Lang has emerged as one of the greatest pianists of our time. Yet despite his fame, few in the West know of the heart-wrenching journey from his early childhood as a prodigy in an industrial city in northern China to his difficult years in Beijing to his success today. This autobiography documents the remarkable, dramatic story of a family who sacrificed almost everything--his parents' marriage, financial security, Lang Lang's childhood, and their reputation in China's insular classical music world--for the belief in a young boy's talent. And it reveals the devastating and intense relationship between a boy and his father, who was willing to go to any length to make his son a star. An engaging, informative cultural commentator who bridges East and West, Lang Lang's book opens a door to China.--From publisher description.… (more)

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