Chinese virtuoso Lang Lang thought his career 'was over as a pianist' aged nine

Key Points
  • Lang Lang left his home town as a child to study piano in Beijing
  • It took months for him to train to get into the Central Conservatory of Music
Looking back at Lang Lang’s musical upbringing

When Chinese pianist Lang Lang was just nine years old, his father gave up his job to take his son from their hometown of Shenyang, to audition for the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

It took months to practice for the audition, and during that time Lang thought his career as a pianist was over, he revealed to CNBC's new show Trailblazers. His teacher dropped him just months after he had moved to the capital.

"For three months, I did not have a teacher. So, and I thought my career was over as a pianist, and I should go home," he told Trailblazers presenter Tania Bryer.

Lang's mother remained behind in Shenyang, he said.

"It was a very difficult time. I mean leaving my mother, coming to (Beijing), it's a big city, but, but in a way, at that time, I preferred Shenyang, my hometown, because it's where I felt so comfortable and all my brothers, all my classmates, basically all my social network were in my hometown, not here.

"So, coming here, my father quit his job, and we rented the most cheap, the 15 dollar-a-month apartment, and study with a new teacher, with completely different environment. It was very difficult, and I did not really enjoy (it)."

The star pianist Lang Lang, pictured as part of CNBC's Trailblazers series

After several months, he got into the Conservatory. Lang also told Trailblazers that during that time, he sought solace at Beijing's Temple of Heaven, a series of altars set in lush parklands.

"As I kid, I came, I think every month, I try to get some spiritual inspiration here… I think it's a very positive energy place, that you feel very comfortable," he said.

Lang has now sold millions of albums around the world and is an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

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