Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Piano music for the masses

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Despite its tendency to be a little scary sometimes, I love being out on the streets. You never know what you might find. On a good walking day, I see a piece of art that hadn't been there before or randomly strike up a conversation with a stranger while passing each other on the pedestrian lane (that just really happened yesterday!)

Starting April 12 at noon, there's going to be a little more excitement on the streets in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra teamed up with British artist Luke Jerram to bring "Play Me, I'm Yours" to the county. In the largest execution ever, LACO brought 30 pianos, decorated them with the help of local artists (including Kent Twitchell and Frank Romero), and set them out the streets, free to play to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for three weeks.

"My hope is that people are really excited and inspired by it," says Executive Director Rachel Fine, "Music is called the universal language. It doesn't matter what language you speak, when the music starts playing, everyone's really connected."

LACO has planned a flash mob of classical pianist at the opening, so if you can, be sure to watch the festivities. The pianos are free for everyone to play and the organization is encouraging everyone to make use of the resource. We hear some music and performance groups are already planning their own mini-events around the pianos.

From the sound of previous incarnations, the project has a way of bringing life to the streets (though I have heard that NYC iteration was a bit of a dud). I wonder how Los Angeles will react to having another outlet available to them. Will we simply pass it by? Or will we take to it and rock out on it like these Londoners? Here are two wonderful snippets.

If you passed this man on the street, you wouldn't know he would be capable of such upbeat music. His disheveled white hair and trench coat give him an air of a gruff person, hurrying somewhere, but that isn't the case when he plays ever so quickly on this piano.

This one might have taken a bit of orchestration, but by the end, everyone was ripping it. As the video progresses, you can see the joy similarly escalate. Wouldn't that be a sight out in the open in Los Angeles?

It's amazing to think how an unexpected surprise can change the mood of a whole street. I'm looking forward to seeing the pianos work its magic all across Los Angeles. Here's a complete list of all piano venues, stop by the nearest one to you.


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