Lang Lang performs for ALS patients in Taipei


TAIPEI, Taiwan — TAIPEI — Chinese pianist Lang Lang, one of the world’s most popular musicians, gave a performance Wednesday at a hospital in Taipei for patients suffering from the paralyzing disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Playing on a piano that was donated to Taipei City Hospital’s Zhongxiao Branch by an ALS patient there, Lang Lang treated his audience to classical music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Frederic Chopin.

Lang Lang said he chose the music of Mozart because it is soothing. He said he was happy to perform for the patients and hoped that greater attention will be given to ALS.

The special concert at the hospital was arranged after Hong Kong star Andy Lau received a message from Yuan Peng wei, a Taiwanese ALS patient, who asked him to invite Lang Lang to the hospital to play for patients there. Lau promised to pass on the request to the world famous pianist.

When asked Wednesday if he was happy that Lang Lang had granted his wish, Yuan smiled and blinked his eyes to indicate ��yes�� as he is unable to speak.

Among the ASL patients at the concert was the piano’s donor Peng Yi-wen, a pianist who is now confined to bed at the hospital.

Lang Lang’s performance was also in response to an Ice Bucket Challenge by Lau. The challenge is a viral meme meant to raise awareness of ALS. People taking part in the challenge can opt either to douse themselves in ice water or to donate US$100 to fund research into the disease, and nominate others to participate in the activity.

ALS deprives patients of the ability to control muscle movement and often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis.