Flower Piano Festival returns to San Francisco for impromptu performances


Gorgeous flowers and beautiful music often occupy the same territory, but has there ever been such an inspiring, comprehensive, and downright joyful juxtaposition as the annual Flower Piano extravaganza at the San Francisco Botanical Garden?

Returning here in 2021 after an absence from the pandemic era last year, this collaboration between the garden and Sunset Piano places tuned pianos in 12 locations across the site’s 55 acres in Golden Gate Park and invites musicians – both wandering amateurs and programmed professionals – to collapse on the benches and play at will.

Elmo Padillo found an admiring audience for his music on Friday at Golden Gate Park. He came from his home in San Lorenzo for the chance to play keyboards at Flower Piano, the five-day festival of music among plants at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)

This year’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Tuesday, September 21, and is free for San Francisco residents, with entry for everyone else priced at $ 3 to $ 13 per person (or 21 $ for whole families). Printed maps and timetables will be provided for those wishing to focus on particular events.

But perhaps the biggest draw is the serendipity of setting foot on the many roundabout paths through all this fragrant greenery and encountering an impromptu performance from a pint-sized Paderewski or a Horowitz. becoming white haired.

Scheduled performances by well-known Bay Area pianists and accompanying musicians, singers and ensembles ensure that there will be pre-planned music to suit all tastes, from classical to romantic, from punk to jazz and rock. to the airs of spectacle.

An ample sprinkling of preset performances is scheduled for Sunday. In the Celebration Garden just off Great Meadow, featured artists include the Classical Revolution Trio playing “Chamber Music for the People” at 11 am and the Cottontails engage in jazz, blues and R&B for years. 30 and 40 at 3 p.m.

Other Sunday performances will include Russian jazz, Argentine tango, “Monkish bepop” and an ode to Nina Simone.

But many participants will be tempted to tickle the ivories themselves, and they are welcome to bring their pre-programmed sheet music or memory banks and enjoy the instruments for free. The crowds are gathering, and if the past years prove to be predictive, they are supportive and enthusiastic.

For a map of piano locations, a performance schedule, and more information on this year’s Flower Piano, including planned safety precautions, visit sfbg.org/flowerpiano.


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