Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia fills with pianos


Barcelona (CNA).- Ten grand pianos were dotted along ‘Passeig de Gràcia’, one of Barceloa’s most emblematic streets for anyone who felt like playing them. This initiative, which started five years ago, marks the beginning of 63th edition of the International Maria Canals Music Contest. “We want to break the boundaries and make people aware that playing an instrument as within everybody’s reach”, said the Contest’s director, Jordi Vivancos. Famous soundtracks such as ‘Titanic’, ‘Amélie’ or HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’, together with universal classics and popular TV theme songs, and fhave echoed in Barcelona’s centre. The International Maria Canals Music Contest is on at the Palau de la Música Catalana from March 25 to April 7 and features 81 young pianists from 30 countries.

As a part of the OFF Competition program and the Maria Canals “porta cua” project, the Maria Canals Association places grand pianos in several public spaces around Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, available to those who want to play.

The grand piano embodies, like no other instrument, the enshrinement of a certain kind of music that is considered to be cultivated, difficult and inaccessible to musical practice.

Pianos in public areas -some of them being concert grand pianos- are available to everyone, even those who have never played before. To break down barriers and reluctance, the pianos are placed directly on the floor without any rugs or platforms. Inscriptions in the pianos invite pedestrians to play, for instance: "Play me, I’m yours", or "Sit down. I am in your hands ".

To motivate the passersby, a volunteer plays the piano throughout the day. His function is to get pedestrians to play, even if they have never done so before.

Among the ten grand pianos on Passeig de Gràcia there will be two concert grands: a Yamaha CFIE (in front of Gaudí’s Casa Batlló) and a Bösendorfer Imperial (in the Jardinets de Gràcia). To top off the day, at 8pm, pianist Marco Heredia offered a free recital in the Jardinets de Gràcia.

The aim of the initative, which started five years ago in the centre of Barcelona and Madrid, is to make music more accessible. We want to break the boundaries and make people aware that playing an instrument as within everybody’s reach”, said the Contest’s director, Jordi Vivancos.

The Maria Canals International Music Contest

Held annually since 1954, the Maria Canals International Music Contest (MCB) aims to to help young and aspiring professional music performers from all over the world.

For many years, the Association has also been working towards breaking social and cultural barriers, which have traditionally limited the access to music (mainly classical music and piano studies), through many activities off competition.

Maria Canals i Cendrós (1914-2010) was a visionary woman. Driven by her passion for piano, her eagerness to help and teach young performers, and her love for Barcelona, she was intensely active, first as a concert player and then by promoting far-reaching projects such as the Acadèmia Ars Nova in Barcelona  and the prestigious Maria Canals International Music Competition of Barcelona.

  • Piano

  • A boy playing one of the grand pianos dotted along Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia (by ACN)