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Play on player: Piano public art installation to take over Los Angeles

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at 08:34AM
Courtesy of "Play me, I'm Yours"

A man playing a piano from last year's "Play me, I'm Yours" in London, England. Newly designed pianos will be coming to L.A. Streets starting April 12.

As part of a new L.A. Chamber Orchestra (LACO) public art project in conjunction with British artist Luke Jerram, 30 pianos will be placed out on LA street corners and made available for playing by the public, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Each piano will be painted or decorated and coated in plastic (in case of rain), then made fully accessible for anyone to sit down and take a stab at playing.

"Beyond solo playing we encourage choirs, bands, other musical ensembles and even dancers to incorporate rehearsals or jam sessions at the piano sites," said LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine.

The installation, "Play me, I'm Yours," runs from April 12 until May 3. It will kick off the first day with 30 designated pianists all performing simultaneously -- playing preludes from Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" from UCLA to San Pedro, North Hollywood and L.A. Live.

The pianos are used as "three-dimensional canvases" by local artists, professional and aspiring, as well as community groups including the Braille Institute and Downtown's own Homeboy Industries, according to LACO.

Even Kent Twitchell, the muralist responsible for "Harbor Freeway Overture" which features orchestra musicians on the side of a building off the 110 freeway, will be designing a piano.

After the pianos are decorated, they are placed in public spaces including schools, shopping complexes and corporate centers. The "Play me, I'm Yours" project was created by Jerram and has already traveled to more than 22 cities throughout the world -- from New York to Sydney.

"This is by far the most ambitious project to date," said Jerram. "I hope the public enjoys the project and takes advantage of the opportunity to perform, express themselves and go out and play."

Feel like making a little midnight music Downtown? Here's where you can find your neighborhood's public pianos starting next month:

  • California Plaza on Bunker Hill
  • Wells Fargo Center on Bunker Hill
  • Chinatown Central Plaza
  • International Plaza, Ronald Tutor Campus Center,USC
  • L.A. Live
  • City Hall Complex
  • The L.A. Music Center
  • Olvera Street: El Pueblo Historical Monument
  • Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Union Station
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