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30 Pianos + 30 So Cal Locations = Unprecedented Art Installation: Play Me, I’m Yours

Play Me I'm Yours
Designed to Foster Hubs of Creativity Through Spontaneous Music-Making,Pianos are Decorated by Local Artists (Celebrated and Amateur)and Installed in High-Traffic Shopping Centers, Corporate Centers, Schools and Other Public Spaces in Downtown LA, Santa Monica, Monterey Park, Watts, San Pedro, Panorama City and Points Between.

Los Angeles, the music capital of the world, kicks it up a notch thanks to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) and its installation of “Play Me, I’m Yours,†originated by British artist Luke Jerram. An unprecedented large-scale art installation, LACO’s “Play Me, I’m Yours†features an astounding 30 vividly decorated pianos installed in high-traffic public neighborhoods across the Southland to bring music and creativity to the region for three weeks from April 12 to May 3, 2012.

“Play Me I’m Yours,” the culmination of LACO’s season-long celebration of acclaimed Music Director and pianist Jeffrey Kahane’s 15th anniversary with the Orchestra, offers Angelenos the opportunity to play the pianos 24-hours a day in outdoor locations that include Bunker Hill, Union Station, Chinatown, the Music Center, City Hall, Old Pasadena, Pasadena’s Playhouse District, Santa Monica Pier, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, USC, the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club, and spots in Claremont, Torrance, San Pedro, Boyle Heights, Monterey Park, Panorama City, North Hollywood, among others. In addition to giving people the opportunity to play them or enjoy others doing so in random and spontaneous hubs of creativity, “Play Me, I’m Yours” involves local artists – celebrated and amateur, children and adults, able-bodied and disabled – to add visual punch to the installation by using the pianos as three-dimensional canvases to create one-of-a-kind works of art.

The project includes a dedicated website – www.streetpianosLA.com – where anyone may upload videos and photos of themselves interacting with the pianos. Those materials become a part of the virtual community of streetpianos internationally.

The installation, a unique gift to Southern California, launches with a free countywide event on Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:00pm, featuring a simultaneous performance of the Preludes from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 on all 30 pianos featuring promising local music students and professionals alike — include Kahane — will play the piece.

“This special countywide tribute to Jeffrey Kahane reflects Jeffrey’s incredible artistry, unbridled passion for music, deep devotion to music education, and all that he has given musically to Los Angeles during his tenure,†says LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine.

Creator of the event Jerram says, “Play Me, I’m Yours†creator Jerram, “It’s a great pleasure to work with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to present my art project. This is by far the most ambitious presentation of the installation to date. I hope the public enjoys the project and takes advantage of the opportunity to perform, express themselves and go out and play.”

While “Play Me, I’m Yours†is being presented by LACO, the Orchestra has established an extensive group of dedicated community partners to bring this immense project to fruition. Among the 30 sites selected for the installation, 10 are in the Downtown Los Angeles area, including the California Plaza; Wells Fargo Center; Chinatown Central Plaza; International Plaza, Ronald Tutor Campus Center at the University of Southern California; L.A. LIVE; Los Angeles City Hall Complex; Music Center of Los Angeles County; El Pueblo Historical Monument on Olvera Street; Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts; and Union Station.

Piano sites in the San Gabriel Valley/The Foothills are Rhino Records in Claremont; Glendale Community College; One Colorado in Old Pasadena; Pasadena Conservatory of Music; and Vroman’s Courtyard in the Pasadena Playhouse District.

Locations in Santa Monica/Westside are Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA; the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica; Santa Monica Pier; and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. In Hollywood/Mid-City, pianos are to be installed at the Egyptian Theatre; Nate Holden Performing Arts Center; William Grant Still Arts Center; and The Variety Building at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard (hosted by The Wende Museum).

South LA/Harbor area locations are the Cultural Arts Center Plaza in Torrance; San Pedro’s Warner Grand Theatre; and the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club. Locales on the Eastside are the Los Angeles Music and Art School in Boyle Heights; and Atlantic Times Square in Monterey Park.

In the San Fernando Valley, pianos are to be installed at El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood; and Plaza del Valle in Panorama City. The piano at USC, on campus for all three weeks, is also a highlight of the Los Angeles Times April 21/22 Festival of Books.

LACO’s monumental installation marks the Southern California debut of “Play Me, I’m Yours,†a conceptual artwork by British artist Luke Jerram that has been touring internationally since 2008. To date, more than 500 pianos have been made available to the public in some 22 cities across the globe, from New York to Sydney, bearing the simple instruction “Play Me, I’m Yours.â€

The project has reached more than two million people worldwide, with each new city that commissions the work becoming part of a growing legacy. In 2012, in addition to Los Angeles, the artwork will be presented in San Juan (Puerto Rico) in May, London and Salt Lake City in June and Salem (Oregon) in July, with more cities to follow.

Jerram creates a website for the public in each city to upload videos, photos and stories sharing their interaction with the pianos. The websites act as one of the legacies for the project while serving to connect the pianos and communities across each city. The website for LACO’s presentation in Los Angeles is streetpianosLA.com.

After each presentation of the project, the pianos are donated to schools and community groups in the area.

In Los Angeles, LACO has organized the donation of 30 upright pianos from generous individuals and organizations facilitated by the Hollywood Piano Company. Additionally, the Orchestra invited visual artists to paint the pianos and community organizations to decorate them and act as site hosts. It has also arranged for “piano buddies†(volunteer caretakers) to oversee the care of each piano throughout the three-week period. Each piano is equipped with a plastic cover in case of rain, and the pianos will be tuned throughout the installation to ensure playability. “Play Me, I’m Yours†is a capstone to Discover the Arts LA, a city-wide celebration of the arts created annually by LA INC.

In addition to the many community partners donating time, space and assistance to help make the installation possible, “Play Me, I’m Yours†sponsors include Wells Fargo Foundation; Faucett Family Foundation; and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; with in-kind support from LA INC. and Discover the Arts LA; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Hollywood Piano Company. Media sponsors are the Los Angeles Times and Classical KUSC 91.5 FM.

For additional information: www.streetpianosLA.com.

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