Flower Piano returns to San Francisco Botanical Garden, with a dozen pianos outdoors for a dozen days. They’re there to be played by visitors to the garden, and there’s a roster of performers who’ll play them over the weekends, including works for two pianos, which will be played on a pair of matched A.B. Chase instruments on the Great Meadow. The two men behind “Sunset Piano,” Dean Mermell and the artist who goes by the name Mauro ffortissimo say this year’s lineup also includes three evening events during the second week.
There’s more information at the Botanical Garden’s Flower Piano website.
Among the returning and new performers is the third generation of a Cuban piano jazz dynasty: “The beginning of the year, I had the honor to meet Chuchito Valdes,” ffortissimo says. “He was playing at SFJAZZ or Yoshi’s, and so we asked him if he’d like to join us this summer, and he said yes – So we’re really excited, he’s going to play the Zellerbach meadow there, and somebody donated to us a brand new Yamaha grand, so he’s going to play on that piano.” The duo piano program is this Saturday, between noon and five, and isn’t limited to the keyboards. “Alison Lovejoy and Kymry Esainko doing Carnival of the Animals, with members of the Classical Revolution Orchestra, and it’s accompanied with a full on puppet show: marionettes, incredible set of marionettes.” There are also programs that include instrumentalists from the San Francisco Symphony playing in various chamber music permutations with piano. And the popular “Night Garden Piano” program was expanded from one to three evenings, on the 12th, 13th, and 14th, to match the demand of last year. “It was a super popular event. They actually wanted to cap it at 25-hundred people. But they couldn’t shut down the ticketing system in time, and it zoomed up to three thousand before they could actually stop it. This year we’ll have three nights of Night Garden Piano, different performers each night, six of the pianos will have performers on them, the others are open for people to play as we always do.”