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Music to Boston’s Ears

0927_street-pianos03Play Me, I’m Yours, a project by artist Luke Jerram, places decorated pianos in various locations in major cities for the public to enjoy and play. Boston currently has been given the honor to host this project’s international tour until October 14th.

 Since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours has made its way to over 37 cities worldwide, reaching over 4 million people thus far.This project has gone as far as São Paolo, Sydney, Barcelona, New York, Geneva, Austin, Los Angeles, Paris, London,  Munich, and will visit Santiago later this year.

Since the launch of this event in Boston on September 26th,75 pianos have been placed in popular public areas around the city, including the Boston Common Visitors Center, City Hall Plaza, Faneuil Hall, Copley Square, Fenway Park, Prudential Center Plaza, and the MFA. The pianos have all been painted and decorated by local artists and community organizations to make them stand out in the Boston community.

Artist Luke Jerram’s inspiration for this project first emerged while he was at his laundromat. “I saw the same people there each weekend and yet no one talked to one another. I suddenly realized that within a city there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence,” says Jerram. He wanted to find a way to bring people together, and so came up with the idea to place pianos throughout a given city. He says, “Placing a piano into the space was my solution to this problem, acting as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space.”

Luke Jerram is a British artist who has specialized in sculpting, installations, and live arts projects since 1997. Voted ABC’s “Person of the Week” in 2010 for his work with Play Me, I’m Yours, Jerram is presently Visitor Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Fine Print Research at the University of West of England. His artwork can be admired at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Corning Museum of Glass, both in New York.

There has been nothing but positive feedback from across the globe surrounding this event. Sally Reay, the project’s manager, has had only good things to say about the public’s reaction. “Generally, people love the project and enjoy trying a piano if they’ve never played one before and listening to others play,” says Ms. Reay.  “Lots of people try to visit and photograph all of the pianos in a particular city and, in some cases, travel the world to play our street pianos in as many cities as possible.”

This project has been made possible by the Celebrity Series of Boston, an organization that is responsible for introducing remarkable performers to the greater Boston area. They have brought Play Me, I’m Yours to Boston to celebrate their 75th anniversary season.

“Luke is keen for the artwork to bring communities together through art and music,” says Ms. Reay.“People who never usually speak to strangers make new friends and talk to people they wouldn’t normally speak to. The street pianos bring people together.”

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