Lang Lang waltzes into UN peace job

UNITED STATES - Acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang said Monday he is ready to play in a conflict zone as he was named a UN messenger of peace.

The 31-year-old virtuoso said he was "truly humbled" to become a UN messenger alongside the likes of actors George Clooney and Charlize Theron and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

Lang Lang played Chopin's Waltz No 1 for UN leader Ban Ki-moon to mark his new job and was then asked whether he would be ready to go to Syria or another danger zone.

"When the time comes, I would love to do it," said Lang Lang, who will concentrate on spreading education in his new role.

"In the past with UNICEF I have been to a few places and played music and sometimes they don't even have a piano, so we bring a keyboard," Lang Lang told a news conference.

"It was the most touching experience for me to see the children who have never seen a piano in their life before and to start playing the piano with me," he added.

The Chinese musician has been an ambassador for UNICEF, the UN children's agency, for the past decade and said he would soon go on his first mission as a UN "messenger" with Ban.

"This is so important. Obviously playing concerts is one thing, but to give back to the society I think is even more important as a human being," said Lang Lang, who also has his own foundation to promote music education.