University Of Tasmania

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FashionFriday: Lang Lang’s Visual Marketing

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 17:57 authored by Arabella Teniswood-HarveyArabella Teniswood-Harvey
This paper will examine the self-fashioning, construction of identities and cultivation of fan interaction that lies at the heart of Lang Lang’s strategic use of visual media, and of social media platforms such as Instagram. Using Glenn Gould’s iconography as a point of comparison (given that both pianists have been represented by Columbia Artists and that Gould’s rise to fame coincided with the increased use of popular media for publicity, a trend he wholeheartedly embraced), the paper will analyse Lang Lang’s iconography in light of the changing relationships with classical music experienced by Chinese and Western audiences over the past decades. In particular, the association of classical music with wealth and prestige through Lang Lang’s endorsement of luxury brands and his overt cultivation of celebrity status, will be considered in light of the special status Western classical music (particularly the piano) enjoys in contemporary China, and China’s increasing consumption of luxury goods. Furthermore, as scholars have noted, Lang Lang’s commitment to his cultural background and his overt displays of “Chineseness,” enable him to effectively straddle two cultures: in the West he is “exoticised” and “orientalised,” while in China his home-grown but internationally-acclaimed stardom is embraced and promoted. As David Remnick wrote in The New Yorker in 2008, Lang Lang “does not earn the money he does because he is better than, say, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, or, in truth, a dozen others. He earns it because of his shiny novelty and flair, and, perhaps especially, because he is an avatar of the Chinese ascendance.” The paper will analyse Lang Lang’s visual marketing in relation to this ascendance, and to the combination of traditional values and increasing capitalism that characterises contemporary Chinese culture.


Publication title

18th International Conference of Association RIdIM - Music and Image in Social, Cultural and Political Discourse Program






School of Creative Arts and Media


Association Répertoire International d‘Iconographie Musicale

Place of publication


Event title

18th International Conference of Association RIdIM - Music and Image in Social, Cultural and Political Discourse

Event Venue

Canterbury Christ Church University

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

The performing arts

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