Internationally-renowned pianist, Lang Lang, Cuts Ribbon for First Avenue School’s Piano Lab

Students Play Alongside Pianist


Assistant Superintendent Jose Fuentes is joined by Vice Principal Alan Usherenko, Margaret El, Special Assistant for Arts Education, and First Avenue Principal Rosa Branco, to welcome Lang Lang to First Avenue School.

[NEWARK, New Jersey – April 22, 2019] Internationally-renowned pianist Lang Lang and The Lang Lang International Music Foundation®) recently joined students at Newark Public School’s First Avenue Elementary School to celebrate the opening of a new Keys of Inspiration® piano lab.

Keys of Inspiration® (KOI), which is part of the GRAMMY™ Music Education Coalition, is an innovative program designed to revolutionize what music education looks like in American public schools. Created to inspire change from within, KOI weaves rigorous, keyboard-centric, musical instruction into selected Title 1 public schools’ mandatory curriculum––integrating group piano classes for grades 2-5, twice a week.

As a recipient of the Keys of Inspiration® grant, First Avenue Elementary School received the following:

  • Classroom set (20-30) new, state of the art Roland digital pianos and benches
  • 300 Lang Lang Method Books (Levels 1-3)
  • Music curriculum developed in collaboration with The Royal Conservatory of Music
  • Supplemental training and ongoing support/professional development

According to First Avenue School Principal Rosa Branco, the school is a prekindergarten through 8th grade school located in a diverse learning community that empowers students to express themselves through academic and creative learning. It is through the visual and performing arts that you can truly see students shine and reach goals they never thought possible.” First Avenue is a recipient of the Lang Lang Keys of Inspiration grant which has given their students the opportunity to learn and explore on pianos at an early age.

Ms. Branco said, “First Avenue's music teachers recall the first day they witnessed their students enter the classroom and the look of amazement on their faces when they saw what they now had in their classroom and at their fingertips. This experience has given their students not only the opportunity to learn piano, but a chance to be creative and grow as a confident musician.”

The Grammy-nominated, internationally-renowned pianist Lang Lang, has been supporting children through music for over a decade. Heralded by the New York Times as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”, Lang Lang plays sold-out concerts covering all continents of the globe. He was designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on global education, and worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). He hails from humble beginnings and is committed to creating and participating in charitable activities focused on children through the strategic work done at his foundation. “When you give a child the gift of music, you give a child the world,” said Lang Lang.

According to Margaret El, Special Assistant, overseeing Arts Education, “The Lang Lang Foundation provided a unique opportunity for students to learn to play piano. Three of our schools applied for the grant which covers a cost of approximately $50K per school. We are very honored to be the recipients of this wonderful grant and to provide an opportunity for our students to play with Lang Lang.”

The Lang Lang International Music Foundation believes that all children should have access to a music education, regardless of their background. LLIMF’s unique programs encourage music performance at all levels as a means of social and emotional development for today’s youth. By igniting a child’s passion for music, LLIMF helps children worldwide aim for a better future. Their primary music education initiative, Keys of Inspiration™ aims to encourage students to create music, and through music, help them find a secure space where they can freely be and believe in themselves.