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Look sharp! Piano Day is coming to London with lots of free concerts

By Charlie Allenby

Now that that other thing doesn’t seem to be happening on March 29, we can finally get back to what the date has been about all along – yep, it’s, erm, world Piano Day. This major (or minor, if you’re not into the ol’ joanna) celebration strikes a chord on the eighty-eighth day of the year – and not because there’s a piano/bingo crossover that you weren’t aware of. It actually represents the total number of keys on a traditional piano. Set up by the German musician Nils Frahm and a group of fellow fans of flats (and sharps), Piano Day is now in its fourth year, and there will be loads of free and affordable performances taking place across London to mark the grand occasion.

Shoreditch Treehouse

The likes of the Barbican Centre, EatH HackneySouthbank Centre and Yamaha Music London will be hosting some of the best contemporary pianists around, and Union Chapel regulars Daylight Music will be taking over the gothic Islington church for a pay-what-you-can afternoon concert on Saturday March 30 with plenty of tea and cake. Looking for a breve-r from work? Try 12 hours of non-stop ivory tinkling at Shoreditch Treehouse on Friday, where amateurs get to play their favourite pieces. No Haydn, now: pick from the Liszt and have a go (if you think you can Handel it).

Where to find London's public pianos

Canary Wharf pianos

Canary Wharf is getting five brand new pianos for Piano Day thanks to Luke Jerram, coordinator of ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’, a global art project that places public pianos in major cities. Each is designed by a different artist. Look out for ‘Symphonica’, an interactive light-up piano at Crossrail Place Roof Garden, and the colourful, drip-painted creation ‘Ebb and Flow’ by Sarah Emily Porter in Crossrail Place (pictured above). Want to feel old? Try tapping the keys of ‘Stop Play Rewind’, a piano made to look like a giant cassette player, which can be found at Churchill Place. Various locations around Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf. 


St Pancras station

The St Pancras piano is a magnet for solo-travelling show-offs, but when Jeff Goldblum graced its keys with a surprise performance to launch his jazz album, it became a sacred site that radiates pure, sexy Goldblum energy. St Pancras station concourse. King’s Cross.

Photo: @_creaturefear

Herne Hill

The graffitied cat eyes on this Bremar piano peep out at you from an underpass right next to Herne Hill station. There might be sharp teeth painted inside the piano lid, but anyone is welcome to sit down and play. Just off Railton Rd. Herne Hill Overground.

Marylebone station

The big beautiful old brown piano inside Marylebone station has seen better days, and is overdue a tuning. Can’t resist just a few bars of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’? Do your worst… Marylebone station concourse. Marylebone.

Images: Herne Hill - © tp_pasarin

Feeing tuneful? Check out our guide to the best karaoke bars, clubs and pubs 

Find more brilliant things to do in London this month with our March guide

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