MILAN, Italy, May 26 -- Iconic Duomo Square, in the heart of Italy's Milan, resounded with long applause from a packed audience for Chinese pianist Lang Lang on Monday night.
The concert, part of a program dedicated to next year's Expo Milano 2015, was attended by thousands of residents and visitors who gathered in the center of the Italian fashion capital.
Lang Lang played with the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, which was conducted by Finnish maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen. The concert featured Le Sacre du printemps, or The Rite of Spring, by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and the Piano Concerto No. 2 by another Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff.
The 32-year-old internationally acclaimed Chinese pianist impressed the audience with his skills and passion.
"I was curious about Lang Lang. I knew he performed at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and this summer he will also inaugurate the Brazil World Cup," an economy student in Milan, Leonardo Berardi, told Xinhua.
"Though I am not an expert, I enjoy listening to classical music while I am studying. Lang Lang, with his charismatic personality, has the merit of bringing people like me closer to this genre," he said.
An older spectator passionate about music, Giovanni Campus, said he particularly appreciated the technical ability of the Chinese pianist, which makes his performances "excellent."
"I am sure that he can still improve a lot as for expressiveness," he said.
Campus, who is an architect, said the concert was a precious opportunity for the cultural integration between Italian and Chinese nationals in Milan. "Duomo Square is filled with young Chinese tonight, which is very positive for the city."H "It really was a touching experience to listen to Lang Lang's alive piano performance here in the center of Milan," a Chinese student, Guo Zixuan, told Xinhua.
In an interview with Milan-based national newspaper Corriere della Sera, Lang Lang said that playing in Duomo Square had been in his dreams.
"For me, discovering Western countries has always meant learning about their immense artistic and cultural history," said the musician, who has visited many Italian cities.
Lang Lang stressed that being a famous pianist implies a responsibility to always try to do better. "I do not play to be the best, but to always improve, and I know that the path in front of me will never end."