Flower Piano kicks off 8th year in Golden Gate Park

Flower Piano, one of San Francisco's truly unique musical traditions, is back again in Golden Gate Park for its eighth year. The event, co-organized by the Gardens of Golden Gate Park, offers a chance to hear professional concerts and play one of 12 grand pianos scattered across the grounds. 

"It’s one of the things I love about the city, and the things that they offer, the culture, the fun, things to do outdoors," said attendee Farrah Pulce.

The Sumi Lee Quartet treated a sold-out crowd to classical and tango music on night one. Some 60,000 people are expected to visit Flower Piano over the event's five days. The event is the brainchild of Dean Mermell and Mauro Ffortissimo, co-owners of San Francisco’s Sunset Piano.

"I love to play outdoors," said Ffortissimo.  "Just the beauty of the garden, nature, trees, birds, and music."

It's an event that takes a symphony of moving parts to make happen. Over the years, professional piano movers have learned how to roll the pianos over the Garden's woodchips, grass, and rocky areas.

"It’s kind of a nightmare, but once we get them in position, and we set them up, it’s like, oh look this piano just magically appeared here in this garden," said Mermell.


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All the work this week came together, right on time for the opening night, and for the first time the newly opened Celebration Garden, temporarily dubbed the Flower Piano Lounge, will offer food and cocktails. 

On Friday, the covers will come off the grand pianos so that members of the public can try their hand at playing. 

"To be able to go around and hear a lot of people play the piano," it's what attendee Vicky Vozza says makes the event so special. "And the kids, to be able to sit down and play a grand piano, and play as long as they want."

Flower Piano runs through Tuesday in the San Francisco Botanical Garden.