“ ‘Prodigy, ‘virtuoso,’ ‘genius’ -- these are some of the words used to describe Lang Lang -- the most popular pianist on the planet,” writes CNN. “To his millions of fans worldwide the 27-year-old Chinese musician is a God-like star, whose skill and energetic performance style put him in a league of his own. To his occasional critics he is a flamboyant showman, whose exaggerated body movements taint the classical music that he plays, although his incredible talent is undeniable. By the age of three, Lang Lang was already taking lessons. By the age of five, he had won his first competition. Now, not even 30, he has been named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Since taking center stage at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony, Lang Lang has become a superstar on the international circuit.” He says he is “very close to” his piano and that the instrument “is maybe my closest friend”.