October 7, 2008

The Recording Academy(R) to Announce Lang Lang As GRAMMY(R) Cultural Ambassador to China With Free Afternoon Performance at New York’s Town Hall on Oct. 20

The Recording Academy(R) will name superstar Chinese pianist Lang Lang as its GRAMMY(R) Cultural Ambassador to China -- harnessing the combination of his powerful cultural influence along with the stature and recognition of the GRAMMY Awards and The Recording Academy to promote music education and cultural understanding between the United States and China -- with a special performance by the 26-year-old virtuoso at New York's Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street) on Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. The event, presented by the GRAMMY Foundation(R) and sponsored by the Starkey Hearing Foundation, also will celebrate the official launch of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (www.thelanglangfoundation.org) created to enrich the lives of children through a deeper understanding and enjoyment of classical music and to inspire and financially support the next generation of musicians through targeted outreach and educational programs.

"Comprising 20 percent of the world's population, China is a vitally important country to our collective musical cultures and the arts," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and President of the GRAMMY Foundation. "So it is only fitting that The Recording Academy develop a more significant role and relationship with China, and there is no finer musician or spokesperson to join us in that effort than Lang Lang. We look forward to the many collaborations and projects that will come from this partnership."

"I believe that my career became possible only because of the opportunities I had as a child to audition for very distinguished musicians," says Lang Lang, who began playing piano at age three and had won several prestigious prizes before the age of 13. "I also received incredible support from my mentors, which allowed my talent to flourish. I have created the International Music Foundation as a way to pass on the precious gift of opportunity to the next generation of musicians and audiences."

The free Oct. 20 concert begins at 11 a.m. and will be attended by a cross section of New York City schoolchildren ranging from elementary to high school age. The students have been invited through the educational outreach programs fostered by Lang Lang, his foundation, and The Recording Academy as a way to reach kids who have had little or no exposure to classical music. The program will also feature performances by two talented children between the ages of five and eight, each of whom will be presented with a scholarship check from Lang Lang's International Music Foundation that will go toward their music studies.

"Starkey Hearing Foundation is pleased to support the combined efforts of Lang Lang and The Recording Academy in making this free concert for children and students a reality," said Debbie Wright, Executive Director of Starkey Hearing Foundation. "As we continue our quest to change the social consciousness of hearing and begin to broaden our partnerships globally, we are proud to support an internationally acclaimed artist such as Lang Lang. Our message of hearing health perfectly complements Lang Lang's, The Recording Academy's of providing music education opportunities for young people."

Declared the "hottest artist on the classical music planet" by the New York Times, Lang Lang has captivated audiences around the globe with his highly virtuosic talent and extraordinary ability to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level. He has played sold-out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and all the top American orchestras.

In 2004, Lang Lang was appointed International Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and has worked steadily to raise awareness and funds on its behalf ever since. Earlier this year, he raised $3.4 million in aid to the Red Cross for victims of the May earthquake in China's Sichuan Province by performing several concert events. Lang Lang continues to show his dedication to young people by visiting children's hospitals whenever he remains in one city for an extended period of time, including during upcoming visits to New York and San Francisco.

"Through music I want children to see a different dimension of life," Lang Lang says. "Music can help them achieve their dreams."

About The Recording Academy

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards -- the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music -- The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. In its 50th year, The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.

About the Lang Lang International Music Foundation

Now in its inaugural year, the Lang Lang Music Foundation has been established to expand young classical music audiences and inspire the next generation of classical musicians through various outreach and education programs. The foundation has four core programs: the identification and cultivation of a select group of young, exceptionally talented musicians; educational programs for music students of all ages; musical exposure programs for non-musicians; and fundraising for humanitarian aid in times of natural disaster. Under the expert direction of Lang Lang, who is an invaluable mentor to young musicians, the foundation is committed to bringing the joy of classical music to children and emphasizing its continued artistic significance in our modern world. For more information about the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, please visit www.thelanglangfoundation.org.

About the GRAMMY Foundation:

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture -- from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information, please visit www.grammyfoundation.com.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation was founded by Bill Austin in 1984. Today, the Foundation is sustained by the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors around the world. Starkey Hearing Foundation is the Global Leader in the Gift of Hearing, delivering more than 50,000 hearing aids annually through more than 100 hearing missions in countries stretching from the United States to Vietnam. Since 2000, Starkey Hearing Foundation has given nearly 300,000 hearing aids to those in need around the world. For more information, please visit www.sotheworldmayhear.org.