As if Gartner Auditorium and Severance Hall were not large enough to contain the glorious music of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, 22 brightly decorated pianos will pop up on the streets of Cleveland to help celebrate the event this summer.
Presented jointly by CIPC and Case Western Reserve University, the pianos are a delightfully hands-on art installation called Play Me, I’m Yours. British artist Luke Jerram conceived the concept and this iteration is being carried out by artist volunteers at Case Western, CIPC, and 11 other community institutions.
Jerram has coordinated similar installations with great success in cities around the world. The goal is to place pianos in busy areas, then let creativity run free. The words “Play Me, I’m Yours,” painted boldly on each piano, deliver an unmistakable invitation, and within minutes of a piano’s installation, everything from Chopsticks to one of Chopin’s beloved Etudes is being played in turn. Often, a passing musician will open a violin or saxophone case for an impromptu duet, or a dancer will improvise a spontaneous performance. Crowds grow, the mood becomes festive, and friends are made as the universal language of music is shared.
The pianos will be unveiled at a media event on Thursday, July 18, and then installed in their final locations over a two-day period. Ten will be located throughout the campus of Case Western Reserve University, and will remain in place through September 9 to allow returning students a chance to play. The other twelve will be available through August 12 in the following locations:
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Cleveland Institute of Music
Cleveland International Piano Competition
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Cleveland Orchestra/Severance Hall
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
The Music Settlement
The Rainey Institute
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
University Circle Inc.
CIPC extends its thanks to the George Gund Foundation for making this project possible. Additional support came from Steinway Hall – Akron, Inc., which donated the pianos, The Sherwin-Williams Company, which has donated paint for the decoration, and Allied Piano Movers, which brought the pianos to Cleveland.