Living Room Performance

He looks homeless, or at least a very, very persistent traveller. He is wearing far too many layers of clothing for the day's weather, each one with an older story than the last. There are several piles of bundles and plastic bags, his possessions, sitting beside the piano. They remind me of a New York sidewalk during a garbage strike.

He relinquishes the bench easily for each new player, retreating to the nearby stairs to listen as they play. When they finish, if there is no one else waiting their turn, he returns to the bench and resumes his meditation.

It's both more and less than music. He has both hands on the keys, both hands in motion, the left repeating simple patterns, the right repeatedly striking first one single key, then another. It is not noise, not random; all the notes he makes are in tune. He occasionally strikes a wrong note, but if so it is clearly a mistake as he returns to the pattern.

The sound evokes a sense of Satie in its whole tone scale or Glass in its minimalism and repetition, but the music, if it is that, lacks any discernible organization, intent or goal. He is not trained, he is not playing a learned piece from memory.  His hands are simply moving.

He sways as he plays, moving side to side as the patterns shift and change. He is both here at the piano and somewhere very far away. If he notices his audience, he shows no sign. He plays on and on as people walk by or come and go, sitting for a time at the nearby plaza benches.

This is a street person's living room performance, an informal insight into the music he hears in his head, that he plays for himself. 

It is a performance only possible at a public piano.


Please join us at one of our pianos, either today or at one of our events. We'd love to hear you play or to listen alongside you.