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Learning from Lang Lang

May 13, 2015

Matthias Hegemann is not like most young people of his age. The 16-year-old is a “child prodigy” and has beeb awarded a scholarship to study with the top Chinese pianist Lang Lang.


Matthias started piano lessons when he was just five years old. His parents are very musical and play several instruments themselves, and they recognized his talents very early on.

When the boy from Mülheim in the Ruhr valley decided he wanted to be a pianist, his father became his manager as well. Matthias' loves the music of the great composers such as Brahms, Mozart and Chopin. But first he has to finish high school. After school, he practices the piano for several hours, which doesn’t leave him much time for friends or hobbies. In addition to high school, Matthias is also studying music at the University of Music and Dance in Aachen.

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Matthias is one of the young German players who have been awarded a scholarship from the Lang Lang Foundation.

Our documentary follows Matthias over the course of a year, through various stages of his nascent career. At a workshop in Oxford, he meets the 92-year-old pianist Menahem Pressier, who escaped from the Nazis as a teenager and made his career in the USA. Encounters like that are important building blocks in his constant struggle to become a great pianist. The highlight of our report, however, comes when he appears in a duet with his idol Lang Lang at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

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Top pianist Lang Lang makes time for Matthias when he comes to Germany.

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