22 August 2019
By Ellie Palmer
Universities and school children combine art and engineering to smash world record
88 pianists, all between the age of 6 and 14, have broken the world record for the number of people playing the piano at the same time. The previous record stood at 21 people.
The record was broken on 20 August 2019 at Birmingham's International Convention Centre in front of over 500 leading engineers from around the world who had gathered together for their annual meeting. Playing a piece especially written by British composer Martin Riley, the 88 young players were tasked with playing one note each. However, for the record to work, each player had to be 7 metres away from the piano.
How does it work?
The project began in 2018 when engineers at the University of Cambridge decided to break the world record to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci. Each player holds a 7-metre long mechanism designed by primary schools and universities from across the UK. Over 2,500 ideas were submitted.
What began as a project to inspire future engineers quickly developed into leading engineers from across the UK being inspired by the imaginations of 2,500 unique inventions to break the record.
Designs of flying rabbits, ballerinas, giraffes, trains and unicorns all feature on and around the mechanisms.
Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, commented: “This was a truly fantastic collaboration between engineering and music! The imagination of the children involved was astonishing and has to be seen to be believed. Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is so proud to have collaborated with ten UK Universities on this world record-breaking project which yet again proves music’s power to inspire children.”
And so, in front of the 500 engineers, these 88 young players performed at Birmingham's ICC - with the support of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - and officially broke the world record.
You can watch the incredible performance below!
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