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Lang Lang in Paris / WSJ Interview

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The Wall Street Journal was treated to an impromptu concert by world-famous pianist Lang Lang this week, during an interview about his new album, "Lang Lang in Paris", which he recorded at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.

In this latest album, the 33-year-old plays Tchaikovsky and Chopin, composers he says he is drawn to because they are "romantic." For us, he played Tchaikovsky Seasons June, and Chopin Scherzo No. 2, with the artistic (and physical) expression for which he's become internationally renowned. The movements of Lang Lang's face and body on the bench were almost as fun to watch as his fingers on the keyboard. When asked what he was thinking about as he played the Tchaikovsky Seasons June, he said, "For this piece, which is so romantic, I see people in boats on the water, in a lovely park, on a beautiful day."

Asked about his popular performance with the heavy-metal band Metallica at the 2014 Grammys, Lang Lang said he had a "great time," and he welcomes more collaboration of that sort. In fact, he thinks good musicians are good musicians, and favors less stark distinctions between classical and contemporary artists.

Lang Lang says he now practices just two hours a day, but growing up in China, it was multiples of that number. In his 2009 autobiography "Journey of a Thousand Miles" he wrote about the many, often extreme, ways his father pushed him to practice and improve. When asked what advice now he has for other parents with talented children, Lang Lang replied, "each child is different, and needs different encouragements. Some need to be pushed a little, and some need help keeping it fresh. But there is no one formula." But music education is a passion of his, and Lang Lang founded the International Music Foundation to educate and inspire the next generation of musicians and music-lovers.

As soon our interview ended, he was off to a school in Brooklyn, to meet with students. "Can you believe," he asks incredulously, "they have no music classes in the public schools?!" And what does this globe-trotting international star want to play in concert, that he hasn't yet? Lang Lang says he would next like to perform the Goldberg Variations.

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