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Music for charity: Playing the piano for a good cause

Music for charity : Playing the piano for a good cause

"Open Piano" provides grand pianos for everyone to play. The donations are used to provide refugees with music lessons

Klara creeps carefully around the shiny black piano with its lid open on the Münsterplatz. She looks around a little helplessly. She seems to be wondering who could own this instrument which is in such an unusual place. Then the student composes herself, sits on the stool and begins to play "Comptine d'un autre Été" by Yann Tiersen from the film "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain". The 20-year-old plays well. What she didn't see: A little further on there is an instrument case into which passers-by are putting money. Klara is playing for the charity "Open Piano for Refugees", which supports refugees and socially disadvantaged people.

Like Klara, passers-by have been sitting at the piano and playing since Thursday. Udo Felizeter, a young student from Vienna, sits in the roof shadow of the restaurant "Midi" and watches the events. He was one of the initiators of the social project and has been touring Germany and Austria for several weeks to collect donations for the DoReMi music institute through strangers playing the piano. He explains that refugees and other people with little money are to receive intercultural music lessons there alongside people on higher incomes. The association "Open Piano for Refugees" founded the music institute in the Austrian capital in the spring of this year and wants to allow music lessons for everyone - regardless of origin or income. The philosophy of the association: "Open pianos should artistically animate public spaces, promote public interaction and the social participation of minorities and socially disadvantaged people (...). Music makes no distinction between religion and origin. Music connects." More than 70 music students have already found a place at the institute. The association states that it has so far been financed exclusively by donations; all its members are volunteers.

Felizeter explains that, like in Bonn, the association is dependent in other cities on the fact that the piano is lent out for free. The Bonn loan comes from the company Piano Spengler from Swisttal, to whom Felizeter is extremely grateful. He has already collected several hundred euros in donations, he says, while passers-by bring him ice-cream. This Saturday and Sunday the piano will be on Remigiusplatz during the day. Afterwards the young man travels on to Linz - where he hopes to find another grand piano to put out on a free loan.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Translation: Caroline Payne)