The most heart-warming piano stories of 2020

28 December 2020
By Ellie Palmer
We round up the stories that pulled on our heart strings this year

12-year-old pianist lights up Good Morning Britain with performance of 90s dance hit

Back in February, young pianist Harrison Cane – who plays on various public pianos around the country – graced our TV screens with a performance on Good Morning Britain. The 12-year-old performed a number of Dance hits for the millions of viewers watching at home. Read the full story here.



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Seven-year-old pianist composes 'Isolation Waltz'

By the time we reached April, parts of the world were putting lockdowns in place as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. 7-year-old Greek pianist Stelios Kerasidis decided to take advantage of the situation by writing his own waltz.

Stelios has dedicated his composition to "...the people who suffer, and those who are isolated in these difficult days because of the pandemic COVID-19." Read the full story here.



Pianists Matej and Luka Jovanovic host live stream to raise money for COVID-19

Matej (left) and Luka Jovanovic. © PianoWorldWide

Later in April, the PianoWorldWide duo also made the decision to make the most of the COvid-19 situation by hosting an online live performance in an attempt to raise funds for the Covid Relief Fund.

50% of the funds the duo made were donated to the charity. You can find out more here.




Meet Tilly Lockey – the amputee who defied doctor's predictions to learn the piano

Tilly Lockey performs on This Morning

By June, we were in real need of some heart-warming stories.

Young Tilly Lockey delivered one when she appeared on British TV show This Morning to play the piano using her bionic arms.

Tilly lost both her hands as a child, but thanks to her bionic arms she has been able to learn how to play the piano again. You can read the full story here.




Pianist Margaret Fingerhut raises £88,000 for refugees

Margaret Fingerhut raised an incredible £88,000 for UK charity, City of Sanctuary. ©Andy Tyler

Back in 2019, Margaret Fingerhut set herself the task of completing 32 recitals as part of her series called 'Far From the Home I Love'.  The recital drew its inspiration from the stories and music of some of the many composers who migrated throughout history.

Fast forward to June of this year, and Margaret was unable to perform her Finale concert in person. However, she was able to livestream the event and incredibly smashed her target of raising £88,000 for UK charity City of Sanctuary.

Margaret commented: "The pandemic has hit many people hard... but none more so than people seeking asylum, many of whom have not been able to access the internet or even buy adequate food for their young families, let alone toiletries. It’s a heart-breaking situation”.

Read more and find out how the £88,000 will be used here.




WATCH: Lebanese woman plays the piano in the rubble of her Beirut home

On 4 August, news spread around the world that at least 135 people had died and over 5,000 were injured in a horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

In the days after, a video surfaced online of a woman playing her undamaged piano surrounded by the rubble of her home. She appears to be playing a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, a famous Scottish folk song well-known throughout the UK.

You can read more about this bittersweet moment, and find out how you can donate to those affected, here.




Cookes Pianos to give away five pianos worth over £5,000


Norwich-based piano store Cookes Pianos announced in September that they were giving away five of their pianos to institutions and organisations who "wish to support music making in their communities."

This generous act came as a result of seeing how hard music education and the music industry had been hit by Covid-19. Back during the UK's first lockdown in March, the majority (if not all) of the country's music venues were closed shut and all events were cancelled. Additionally, the need to self isolate and – in some cases – study from home limited opportunities for students to play music together.

You can read the full story here.



Pianist João Carlos Martins breaks down in tears as he plays Bach wearing bionic gloves


Decorated Brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins lost most of the use of his right arm back in 1995 when he was attacked in Bulgaria, resulting in injuries to his skull and brain – however, he had been suffering with health issues since 1965.

He retired in 2019 partly due to these issues, but later that year a Brazilian designer created a pair of bionic gloves for the pianist to help him play again. It's an incredible story. Read the full account here.




Lang Lang and Gina Alice Redlinger announce they are expecting their first child

Lang Lang announced the news on his Facebook page
It was the type of news we all needed to hear after such a difficult year!
Read the full story here.




80-year-old former music teacher with dementia releases new single

80-year-old former music teacher Paul Harvey released a single back in November with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra after a clip of him improvising went viral online (above).

In the clip Harvey, who suffers from dementia, was given just four notes by his son to improvise with which incredibly he orchestrated into a composition

Read the full story here.





London Symphony Orchestra accepts £1.5m donation

Main image: © LSO

Elena and Alex Gerko, founders of XTX Markets, donated £1.5m to the London Symphony Orchestra's Always Playing Appeal in November.

The generous gift to the LSO offers seed funding to the Always Playing Appeal, which aims to raise a minimum of £5 million before summer 2021, thus helping helping the orchestra to sustain its world-class status and the membership of outstanding musicians, and assist in the Orchestra’s returning to live performances, first in London and then further afield.

Read the full story here.




Jamie Cullum breaks world record for the largest ever online piano lesson

This was certainly a very heart-warming way to end 2020.

Back on 9 December, the award-winning pianist and singer successfully broke the record for the largest ever online piano lesson.

Along with special guests, he taught those who tuned in how to play the Christmas classic, ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’. The music lesson was in association with Bonza, a new generation resource for music in schools, supporting teachers and learners alike and led by some of the world’s best known artists.

You can read the full story here.


Have you got your own heart-warming stories to share? Let us know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We want to hear them!


Main image: (left) pianist João Carlos Martins / ©Ministério da Cultura; (centre) Stelios Kerasidis / ©YouTube; (right) Harrison Crane © YouTube

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