‘She’s a miracle kid’ – star pianist Lang Lang on Lucy, last year’s winner of The Piano

29 April 2024, 12:32

Lang Lang on Lucy, last year’s winner of The Piano
Lang Lang on Lucy, last year’s winner of The Piano. Picture: Classic FM / Channel 4

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

“I was just starting to play the Fauré Pavane, just for fun. And then she started playing with me by ear!”

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Lang Lang has spoken about the “remarkable” blind and neurodivergent pianist Lucy, who won The Piano in 2023 and has gone on to become a musical sensation with millions of people around the world watching and enjoying her music-making.

The Channel 4 TV show returned to screens on Sunday 28 April, for a celebration of piano-playing from Manchester Piccadilly station in the north of England.

The star Chinese pianist recalled the moment he first saw Lucy playing in Leeds train station, for her first audition where she performed a Chopin nocturne with extraordinary grace and agility.

“I was totally blown away by Lucy when met her in the Leeds station,” Lang Lang told Classic FM. “I just thought, this is impossible to have someone like that – to have a such a talent and with such a health condition.

“She is a miracle kid. And then the more I knew about her later in London, when I was working with her a little bit… she knows everything by ear. Like you play some kind of music, and she starts playing. It's remarkable,” he added.

Read more: ‘Music is vital to her’ – how The Piano star Lucy speaks through the piano

In November, the piano pair sat down at the keys together for the first time, on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in a rehearsal ahead of the Royal Variety Performance, given in the presence of William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales.

Lang Lang started warming up with the popular ‘Pavane’ by Gabriel Fauré, when his duet partner surprised him.

“I was just starting to play the Fauré Pavane, just for fun,” the pianist said. “And then she started playing with me… by ear.

“Yeah!” he laughed. “It’s crazy. We were rehearsing the Brahms Hungarian Dance for the Royal Variety Show, and she just played the moment that she heard the Fauré Pavane.”

Will there be any ‘Lucys’ in the second season of The Piano, that we can look out for?

“It’ll be really hard to find someone like her again. Of course.”

Who is Lucy, winner of 'The Piano'? Meet her mum and teacher

Since the first season of The Piano, which was Channel 4’s most successful new format since 2017, Lang Lang says people have been writing to him on social media, telling him they want to start having piano lessons, and going to more classical concerts.

“This show has really touched so many people’s hearts,” the pianist said, and not only in the UK, but worldwide. “A lot of people will see this show in America, in France, in China, in Japan. The influence is huge.

“It’s so great that we’re focused a lot on [bringing] classical music to everybody.”

One major theme will remain into season two, Lang Lang added: the modern concert hall space of the busy train station. “It gives a lot of strength to perform there,” he said. “And everyone gets different crowds – you never know what’s going to happen.

“But of course, the finale has to be in a concert hall or in a proper venue.”

The finale concert has already taken place, at the new Aviva Studios in Manchester on 21 April, with all audience members under strict instructions to keep details of the final secret.

“And of course,” Lang Lang added, “The profits go to charity to buy more pianos for people to play.”