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23 July 2012, 10:05 | Updated: 23 July 2012, 10:25
Lang Lang, the celebrated Chinese piano sensation, took a break from his busy performance schedule to play his part in the Olympic Torch relay on Sunday.
Olympic fever gripped the country this weekend, and now it has hit the classical music world after Chinese pianist Lang Lang carried the Torch in London on Sunday afternoon. His 300-meter leg of the nationwide journey began at 2.30pm after the Torch’s morning trip on the London Eye.
The dismal weather cleared up in time for Lang’s appearance in Hornchurch. He passed the Queen’s Theatre and waved to the crowd on an outdoor stage on the 65th day of the Olympic Torch relay around the country.
He addressed the cheering crowds, shouting: “Thank you everyone, Olympic London!” Many local joggers also requested to have their photos taken with the star.
Lang has long been known to classical music lovers, but he captured a new British audience after his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace in June. He played a musical mashup of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody and Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, which was watched by a TV audience of around 16million.
This is not even the first time the piano star has been chosen to carry the Olympic flame. Before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 he ran with the Torch on Tiananmen Square.
Lang is staying in London for the majority of the Games, and has tickets to a number of events including the opening ceremony. He is performing at the Barbican on 1 August on the China night stage, and on a dragon boat on the Thames on 2 August.