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Pianist Lang Lang hits out at 'Bang Bang' critics

Lang Lang, the one-time child prodigy pianist who is now considered one of the hottest properties in worldwide classical music, has hit back at critics who consider his performances to be flashy, empty affairs which detract from the seriousness of his art.

The 27-year-old, who will be performing all five of Beethoven's piano concertos back to back in London for the first time next year, said he was angry with critics who were rude about his flamboyant image and performance style.

Mr Lang's histrionics have led to critics labelling him "Bang Bang", and fellow pianist, Earl Wild, once branding him "the J-Lo of the piano", a reference to pop diva Jennifer Lopez.

"Those criticisms are absolute nonsense," Mr Lang told The Independent. "I never listen to such things... If people say my piano concertos are just showmanship, they must be wrong. It's the most serious piano repertoire."

Playing just one of Beethoven's piano concertos is a challenge, but performing all of them will be particularly gruelling. The London performances, which will be the pianist's only concerts in the capital next year, were announced last week.

When asked about the hype that will inevitably surround his appearance, Mr Lang said: "The hype began very fast when I was younger. But I am not a beginner any more. I have been on the world stage for 10 years."

The pianist, joined by acclaimed conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, will perform across three days in the same week next March. "These concerts will form an important part of the hall's 2012 programme and we are delighted to be welcoming such a talented artist back," said Royal Albert Hall chief operating office Jasper Hope.

Mr Lang performed to an estimated television audience of 36 million during the opening ceremony to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.