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Lang Lang the Focus of CNN 'Ones to Watch'

Chinese pianist Lang Lang's concerts sell out in every major city in the world. He was the first ever Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, and his name has become a trademark.

There are now an estimated 40 million classical piano students in China, for which credit is often given to the 'Lang Lang effect'.

On ‘CNN Ones to Watch’ this month, this classical musician with rockstar status is the ‘master’ who nominates up and coming stars in the world of Classical Music.

Lang Lang first choice is a ten-year old whose genius is a nod to his own beginnings. Alasdair Howell from London began playing the piano aged three. Now, when he sits at the piano, the allure of toys and technology are far away – for him it's Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mahler. He takes a seat at the piano next to Lang Lang, to take a few notes from a legend.

In the South African township of Soweto, a group of young string musicians are creating an extraordinary sound. Buskaid are Lang Lang's other 'Ones to Watch'.

This South African ensemble grew out of a music academy in the heart of one of the country's most notorious slums. ‘CNN Ones to Watch’ witnesses them performing alongside a prestigious French orchestra, led by violinist Anne Gravoin (the wife of the French Prime Minister). From the slums to the stage, the programme follows the dreams of some of Soweto's finest fiddlers, including a jamming session with the multiple-Grammy Award-winning 'Soweto String Quartet'. ‘CNN Ones to Watch’ hears their thoughts on the challenge of breaking through.

CNN Ones to Watch airs;

  • Friday 15 May at 1630 BST (1730 CET)
  • Saturday 16 May at 2030 BST (2130 CET)
  • Sunday 17 May at 0130 BST (0230 CET)
  • Monday 18 May at 0430 BST (0530 CET)
  • Tuesday 19 May at 1030 BST (1130 CET) and 1730 BST (1830 CET)
  • Wednesday 20 May at 0430 BST (0530 CET) and 0930 BST (1030 CET)