Golden Gate Park

Flower Piano Marks Five Years in GGPark’s Botanical Garden

Flower Piano

The annual twelve-day-only celebration of pianos in the park marks its fifth year at San Francisco Botanical Garden with a special anniversary edition, featuring more performances, special events and new opportunities for the public to play.

Event dates: July 11 – 22, 2019

Five years ago, Sunset Piano and San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG) joined forces to offer the public a uniquely interactive experience of music in nature, placing 12 pianos in some of the Botanical Garden’s most beautiful locations and inviting anyone to come and play what they like.

Flower Piano 2019 travis lange_1

Photo by Travis Lange.

Now, the annual 12-day-long Flower Piano, one of the Bay Area’s most highly anticipated musical events of the summer, celebrates its fifth year at the Garden with a special anniversary edition, featuring new opportunities for the public to play, more performances by professional musicians, special events for families including the new evening- time Flower Piano at Sunset, a community sing-along, free piano lessons and three evenings of Flower Piano at Night, a special after-dark event with food trucks and outdoor bars.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Flower Piano,” said Stephanie Linder, Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society. “With more scheduled performances, new community partnerships and increased programming, this year promises to be the best yet. The word most commonly used by participants to describe the experience is ‘magical’ and I agree – through Flower Piano, the Garden comes alive in an entirely new way each July.”

“Each year, Flower Piano has pushed the boundaries of what we think is possible,” said Dean Mermell, co-founder, together with Mauro ffortisimo, of event partner Sunset Piano. “It’s an event that constantly explores new levels of community engagement and artistic adventure. Over the years, thousands of people have come to know that Flower Piano is unlike any other event and a true San Francisco experience: an interactive music festival in a jewel-like, natural setting.”

 

Flower Piano transforms the Garden into the city’s own alfresco concert hall for twelve days, and everyone is invited to play and listen for just the price of regular Garden admission. The twelve pianos are tucked among the many flower-filled gardens within SFBG’s 55 acres and are available to the public to play each day July 11-22 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., except during select performances.

Piano players of all levels and ages will find the best availability of locations and instruments, including many grand pianos, on weekdays. Visitors who do not play can enjoy impromptu concerts by talented strangers and neighbors who come by the hundreds, often with sheet music in hand, to play for the sheer delight of it. Weekdays also feature new Lunch Time Concerts presented by San Francisco Conservatory of Music each day July 15-19 from 12 noon-1 p.m.. For those who regret that their parents never forced them to take piano lessons, the Community Music Center offers free, 20-minute mini lessons for beginners ages 12 and up, weekdays July 16-18 between 3-6 p.m. Reservations for lessons will be available online starting July 5 and in person as well.On weekend days, the public can enjoy a diverse schedule of performances by professional pianists, often together with vocalists and other musicians and artists. Both Saturdays, July 13 and 20, feature the always popular Twelve Piano Extravaganza when all of the pianos are taken over by the pros between 12-2pm. Visitors can listen to a wide variety of genres from classical to cabaret over the course of two hours. On July 13, this even includes a fun-for-all, dance-along ballet extravaganza led by Daniel Sullivan. July 13 also features a special program from 2-5 p.m. by a full symphony orchestra known as the Awesöme Orchestra Collective, that invites the audience to experience both the rehearsal and performance of two piano concertos. The following Saturday, July 20, Sunset Piano performs poetry and music collaborations from 2- 5:30pm, Bay Area Hawaiian dance supergroup Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu will perform innovativecontemporary and traditional hula accompanied by piano from 2-4pm, and members of SF Symphony will perform from 3-5pm.

Both Sundays, July 14 and 21, also feature multiple performances throughout the day including the Francisco Rosales Ensemble with a program in Spanish of Cuban traditional music; Kash Killion with a world music program on a variety of fascinating instruments from around the globe; Tammy Hall’s tribute to Bay Area Black women in music; the Stanford University Ragtime Ensemble performing rarely heard Scott Joplin Rags; the very danceable Rob Reich Swings Left; and featured pianists Sarah Cahill, Van-Anh Nguyen, and more. Sunday, July 14 features special duo piano programs including award-winning pianist Allison Lovejoy with members of the Awesöme Orchestra Collective and puppeteer Niki Ulelha presenting Saint-Carnival of the Animals.


Weekends also include several family-friendly events from a character scavenger hunt by Rabbit Hole Theater to music-themed Story Times and special Bean Sprout Family Days in theChildren’s Garden. Adults can also join special Flower Piano yoga led by Kaiser Permanente staff and moving meditation classes.

Flower Piano at Night, a special, ticketed evening version of Flower Piano returns for three nights, July 18-20. Beautifully lit pathways guide visitors to pianos aglow with performances by Sunset Piano all-stars and open pianos to play. Performers, who vary each evening, include Jill Tracy and her Sonic Séance, a jumpin’ jive piano party with Rob Dehlinger’s Alpha RhthymKings, Brazilian Bossafolk with Paolo Sultanum and Casulo, and more. Food and drink are available for purchase from a variety of food trucks and outdoor bars. Tickets are $55 each.

Other evening events include a new, ticketed Flower Piano at Sunset for families and others that features performances by the Little Mission Studio Chorus and Chamber Ensemble, Charity Kahn, music classes for toddlers by Meadowlark Music Class, and a young talent showcase that offers musicians ages 12 and under a chance to sign up and perform as a featured guest artist that night. Tickets for Flower Piano at Sunset are $40.

Flower Piano kicks off on Thursday, July 11 with open play starting at 9 a.m. as well as a sing- along led by the Community Music Center from 4-6pm.

A full schedule of performances and programs, as well as links for advance ticket purchase to Flower Piano at Night and Flower Piano at Sunset, is available at sfbg.org/flowerpiano.Visitors can also visit that page to make use of the Garden’s Flower Piano app to create custom schedules, buy special event tickets, and more.

San Francisco Botanical Garden, located in Golden Gate Park with entrances on 9th Ave at Lincoln Way and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive off the Music Concourse, is open 365

days a year at 7:30 a.m.

Admission for San Francisco residents (with proof of residence, e.g., CA ID with SF address, or photo ID and utility bill) is FREE. Admission for non-residents is $9 general, $6 youth 12-17 and seniors; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE. Families of 2 adults and one or more child pay just $19. Admission is FREE to all visitors from 7:30 to 9 AM. SFBG members receive free admission and discounts on fee-based programs. The public should call (415) 661-1316 or visit sfbg.org for more information.

About San Francisco Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of beautiful gardens displaying nearly 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. Highlights include the California Native Garden and the century old Redwood Grove; the unique Mesoamerican, Andean, and Southeast Asian Cloud Forest collections; and the magnificent Magnolia collection, the most significant for conservation purposes outside China.

Established in 1940 originally as Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership between San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

For more information, visit https://www.sfbg.org/flowerpiano.

 

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