The 10th Annual Lang Lang Foundation Gala

 
I started playing the violin at 5 and played straight through till my mid-20s. So I am a huge proponent of music education for children. It is a vital component of every child’s life, teaching them discipline and giving them grace. Thus, it was a great honor to spend the evening at  The Lang Lang International Music Foundation™ (LLIMF) 10th Anniversary Gala Concert Dinner in New York City on Wednesday, October 10th. The evening raised more than 1.6 million dollars to fund the organization’s efforts to educate, inspire, and motivate the next generation of music lovers and performers. 
 
The world-renowned pianist and creator of the foundation, Lang Lang, played a special performance featuring the foundation’s Young Scholars. “I really feel that this is a good beginning. I think the next ten years will be even easier to build up,” said Lang Lang. “We believe that if music just disappears from children’s fundamental studies, that would be the most tragic thing. We have to inspire kids to learn music.”
I had a wonderful time and even got to chat with Lang Lang. We chatted about my favorite piano learning tool, the ONE Smart Piano and he informed me that he is a major investor and partner in the company.
 
 
 
The gala was hosted by Golden Globe-winning actor Alec Baldwin. Baldwin, along with auctioneer George McNeely, led the foundation’s ‘call for cash,’ drawing a flurry of donations. The evening also included special performances by three-time Grammy Award winner Wyclef Jean, twelve-time Grammy Award nominee Ledisi, and internationally acclaimed tenor Roberto Alagna. The Foundation presented a special award to Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who were honored for their contributions to classical arts. 
 
The event was opened with a speech by Gala Chair John Paulson, who spoke about how musicians add richness to everyone’s lives.  Sandy Weill, Chairman of the Board of Directors at LLIMF, presented a special award to Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who were honored for their contributions to classical arts. 
 
 
Guests included Catherine Azmoodeh, Charles Atkins and Lisa Simonsen, Tony Bechara, Olivier Berrgruen, Christopher Burch & Monika Chiang, Andre Barwinski-Brown, Kelly Cutrone, Colin Cowie, Christina Cressey,  Dushan Di Concilio, Brian and Joanna Fisher, Judith M. Hoffman, Robert Hormats, David Hryck, Joan Khan,  John and Jenny Paulson, Sana Sabbagh,  Elizabeth Segerstrom, Daisy Soros, Allyson Tang, Benny Tabatabai,  Suzanne Vega and Paul Mills, Sandy Weill and  Joan Weill, Jason Wu, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Shirley Young, Ann Ziff and yours truly.
 
 
In ten years, LLIMF has successfully developed music education programs benefiting children across the world including Keys of Inspiration™, 101 Pianists™, Young Scholars™ and Play It Forward™.
 
Keys of Inspiration™ (KOI), one of the most influential programs of the foundation, weaves rigorous, keyboard-centric musical instruction into the mandatory curriculum of selected Title 1 public schools–integrating group piano classes for grades 2-5, twice a week. KOI started in 2013 with only two schools and 300 students. As of September 2018, it has 40 schools enrolled in the program from across the country, reaching over 16,000 students.  “Utilizing a strategic expansion plan, KOI will reach 30,000 students in 80 schools by 2020”, says Chief Executive Officer of LLIMF, Leszek Barwinski-Brown.
 

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