Piano Updates — Stay Tuned

Time to look in on the piano that is the subject of the installation “Piano (de)composition.” We first wrote about this last November following several months of weathering and decay. But something recently caught the attention of NBC News reporter Jesse Kirsch who filed this update last Wednesday, at which time activity on our earlier post suddenly increased.

This all started over a year ago: Prior to the intervention of Ph.D. candidate Devanney Haruta, the Brown University Music Department had slated this practice piano for a trip to the landfill, but Haruta suggested an installation in which the elements could be allowed to reclaim the instrument, giving it a second act as a piece of art.

For the recent NBC piece, Haruta gathered a few students and friends who were able to demonstrate how un-piano the object was becoming. Attempts to actually play a song or familiar motif on the keyboard will be frustrated; plucking at the strings with twigs seems more the way to go at this point.

Haruta is asked: “What’s the best way to play this right now?”

She answers: “Any way you want!”

So stop by and pluck, poke, or strum away. (And this should go without saying) but do not sit or climb on the piano. The chairs are still there, just not in this photo.

To follow the progress (or decomposition) over the past year, go to the Piano (de)composition Archive. (I had joked previously about playing Kitten on the Keys; check out music professor Ivan Tan and his cat Popeye.) And see how the piano looked when it was first released into the wild . . . and look at it now.

We will keep checking in.

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The Orwig Music Building has an address on Young Orchard Avenue but this installation is most easily accessed on Hope Street between Young Orchard and Benevolent Street. Walk up the stairs, and along the path another 20 feet, then look to your right. (I do not remember the big air conditioning unit that now groans away nearby. Part of the orchestra now I suppose.)

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