'Flower Piano' Blooms in the San Francisco Botanical Garden

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Mauro ffortissimo and Dean Mermell at "Flower Piano" in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. (Cy Musiker )

For the past several years, the San Francisco Botanical Garden has come alive during the summer—and not just with blossoms from every corner of the planet.

At "Flower Piano," pianists of all talent levels and musical tastes happily plonk away on 12 pianos spread across the garden's 55 acres. The event takes place this year July 5–16.

On weekend days, the garden's main partner in the event, Sunset Piano, invites professional pianists and other musicians to share their art. (Sunset Piano, founded by artists Mauro ffortissimo and Dean Mermell, is the subject of the feature documentary Twelve Pianos. It tells the story of the artists' work to bring pianos to unlikely locations, like the windy bluffs overlooking the California coast or San Francisco's streets—and the Botanical Gardens for "Flower Piano.")

At the special NightGarden program on July 12–14, pros including Sarah Cahill, Elektra Schmidt and Rob Reich take to pianos around the gardens for pop-up performances. Their repertoires feature classical pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Debussy; tributes to Duke Ellington and Meredith Monk; and contemporary genres like neo-soul and funk.


Flower Piano runs July 5–16 at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Details here.