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Lang Lang chats Disney music, performing in Hollywood for his upcoming Disney+ special

Lang Lang, the world-renowned classical pianist has found notoriety among classical music circles, playing with proficiency pieces by Bach and Beethoven. Now, he can add Disney to his list of genres he can perform.

“Lang Lang Plays Disney” is a new special coming to Disney+ that features a one-night-only concert filmed at London’s Royal Albert Hall with Lang Lang at the piano performing iconic Disney songs from film and TV. Spliced all together with documentary segments, it also explains how and why Lang Lang connected with Disney and how it inspired his musical journey.

“Disney music has always drawn a lot of inspiration from classical music, especially during the early years of animation,” he said to DisneyExaminer in an interview. Taking that view of Disney music allowed Lang Lang to arrange classic Disney tunes like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Let It Go” and present a classical twist to them.

Working with seven classically trained composers, he reworked and reharmonized the classic Disney melodies to make them more ‘Romantic,’ which according to Lang Lang meant “[evoking] Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, etc.—which led us to merge the Disney melodies we all know and love, the composers’ unique backgrounds, and my performance style to create music both familiar and new.”

Many of these arrangements can currently be heard on the accompanying record that he released with his Disney arrangements called The Disney Book, which includes Disney songs written by his favorite Disney composers, both classic and modern. “The Sherman Brothers above all are my favorite Disney composers–they did an absolutely amazing job with Mary Poppins’ [music].” Regarding his favorite modern Disney composers, Lang Lang added, “I love Han Zimmer’s work on ‘The Lion King’.

Lang Lang also remarked at how Disney music has reached nearly every generation in its own way, which is why he wanted to perform the music even more. “The great thing about Disney music throughout each era is how it bridges the gaps of culture and age while still acting as a platform for heritage across the world. This is why it blends so easily with classical music, which also focuses on human emotions to transcend differences.”

He added, “Over the years we have learned to recognize the melodic cadence such that you instantly recognize a Disney song. You always feel a very beautiful melody and emotional core in Disney music.” For that alone, Lang Lang will always play Disney.

Lang Lang Plays Disney, a Disney+ Original Special, begins streaming on September 15. The Disney Book album by Lang Lang is now available wherever you buy or stream music. 

Our special thanks to Lang Lang for contributing to this story! Visit his official website for more.


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