19 April 2022
By Ellie Palmer
Public pianos have been popping up much more frequently over the last few years, and have been responsible for a flurry of incredible videos on YouTube. We take a look through 10 of our favourites
Residents of Sarasota, Florida, were impressed when Donald Gould (a homeless man who was living on the streets at the time of this video) turned up to serenade the locals... on a gorgeous, unique piano might we add.
We enjoyed this one a lot.
Let us set the scene for you.
You're at your local train station, most likely a little bit stressed about making your train on time, and none other than Elton John turns up to play the station's public piano with no warning. That would be quite the story to tell people.
New York City, 2016
Dotan Negrin, the pianist in this video, is a well-known name on the street piano circuit. A few years ago, he quit his 9-5 job and decided to travel around the world and play his piano in the most beautiful places on earth. To date, he's played in over 300 cities, 20 Countries, and travelled 50,000+ miles.
Here, he teams up with violinist and singer Ada Pasternak for what appears to be an unplanned performance. Lovely stuff!
St Pancras Station, London, 2016
Blues and boogie player Henri Herbert stunned the London crowds back in 2016 when he played his own piece, Gettin On Down, from his album 'Boogie Woogie Piano'. The video is actually taken from Street Pianos - Instrument of Change – a documentary about street pianos, directed by Maureen Ni Fiann. The video has almost 61 MILLION views to date. That's some feat.
2016, location unknown
Mozart's Turkish March is a piece most of us know very well, but what you might not know as well is pianist Fazıl Say's improvised version. The pianist in the video who, according to the comments is likely a woman from South Korea, plays Say's arrangement of the Mozart piece to the watching crowds. And what a performance it is!
One of the comments under the video reads, "I actually visualized Mozart taking turns at the piano with you, trying to 'out piano' each other."
Manchester Airport, 2018
Young pianist Harrison has been catching the public's eye in the last couple of years with his regular street piano performances. He even appeared on the UK's Good Morning Britain show back in 2020 to talk about his experiences.
In this video, he plays Ludovico Einaudi's glorious Nuvole Bianche at Manchester Airport – much to the delight of the holiday-goers nearby.
A drama-filled performance! When these two pianists and harmonicist (who seemingly didn't know each other before-hand) began playing boogie woogie together on an 'out of order' piano, a security guard stepped in to try and halt the playing.
However, he was unsuccessful. The trio continued playing much to the delight of the onlooking audience. They eventually ended the performance and were received with rapturous applause.
Even the security guard seemed to enjoy it.
Westfield London, 2019
Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody is a very common choice for street pianists given how exciting it is to listen to, which can make it difficult for performances to stand out from the crowd.
Karim Kamar, a pianist and composer from South London, is certainly one that stands out with his rendition here. If you'd like to hear more of his glorious playing, take a listen to his new album of piano music below.
London Underground, 2020
As one commenter writes under the video: "I'm smiling the whole video... he's fantastic with his own subtle twist." We agree!
The man in shot is a Mr Peter Buka, a 23-year-old pianist from Hungary, who played his own unique version of Dance Monkey by Tones & I. Peter mostly posts covers of pop songs and movie themes on this social media channels. His followers certainly loved this one.
YouTuber Saviour Bee seems to be quite the hit across the African continent. The gospel preacher, producer and pianist has amassed over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube, and uses his platform to give lessons on piano and music production.
In this video (specific location unknown), he makes the most of the various accompaniment options on his Yamaha PSR-SX900 and plays a whole medley of different pieces, including a very entertaining rendition of Für Elise. Do check out the rest of his videos; he's guaranteed to make you smile.