The child prodigy grew into a Grammy-nominated virtuoso who's been electrifying audiences and changing the landscape of classical music since his international breakout a decade ago.
Now 25, Lang Lang has been dubbed "the Tiger Woods of pianists."
His official bio says The New York Times called him the "hottest artist on the classical music planet."
Since moving to the United States from his native China in 1997, he's appeared with many of the world's top orchestras, performed in packed houses in cities across the globe, played for many a world leader and royal family member, and recorded a series of best-selling albums.
His latest is "The Magic of Lang Lang" and, on Sunday, he'll be teaming up with the legendary Herbie Hancock for a special performance at the Grammys where he's nominated for best instrumental classical performance for "Beethoven: Concertos 1 & 4."
On The Early Show Thursday, co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez said she'd describe his music as "very fresh, very unique, not traditional classical music."
Does he agree?
"I'm not so sure," Lang Lang replied, modestly. "I try to play something unique and fresh, yeah."
The Grammy Lang Lang is nominated for is Best Instrumental Solo Performances for his recording of "Beethoven's 1st and 4th Piano Concertos."
With his hair and a leather jacket he was wearing, Rodriguez remarked, "You look more Bon Jovi than Beethoven!"
"Beethovens' hair was pretty wild, too!" Lang Lang laughed. "He never -- he never knew his haircut!
Lang Lang believes the great composers were the original rock stars and thinks fans of rock, hip-hop, country, jazz and other popular music can enjoy classical just as much.to see his thoughts on the composers who would appeal to fans of different genres.