World-renowned pianist donates $780K to local schools

Pianist Lang Lang recently visited Thomas Holme Elementary and donated to six Philadelphia schools.

Pulling some strings: Grammy-nominated pianist Lang Lang stopped by the Thomas Holme Elementary School last week. He donated $780,000 to six Philadelphia schools, including Thomas Holme and Fox Chase Elementary School. PHOTOS: SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA

On Friday, Oct. 6, a group of second-graders got to tickle the ivories for a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated pianist.

Lang Lang visited Thomas Holme Elementary School to donate $780,000 to music programs in six Philadelphia schools. He met with second-grade students in the school’s new piano lab, which was built because of a grant from the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

Thomas Holme became the second Northeast school after Fox Chase Elementary School to receive the LLIMF Keys of Inspiration grant. It was selected alongside The Honorable Luis Munoz Marin Elementary School and Francis Scott Key Elementary School this year. These schools join Fox Chase, Edward T. Steel Elementary School and Southwark Elementary School, which were selected as recipients last year.

Each school will receive a grant worth $130,000 over the course of three years. The grant will provide each school with a state-of-the-art Roland piano lab, as well as giving the schools the opportunity to finance music-related field trips, music gear and technology and piano lessons for the students.

“When you give a child the gift of music, you give a child the world,” Lang said.

Lang, who called Philadelphia a second home, studied at the Curtis Institute of Music when he was a teenager.

Second-graders who had only begun to learn piano a few weeks ago performed a rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy for Lang, who clapped enthusiastically.

After their performance, Lang took to the stage with his protégé, 14-year-old Maxim Lando. Lando is an LLIMF Young Scholar alum. Avery Lin Gagliano, another protégé, also performed for the students.

Lang began playing the piano when he was around 3 years old after seeing an episode of the cartoon Tom and Jerry that featured a piano. He is a designated United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on global education, and worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund. ••