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Steinway Peace Piano Visits Philly

The Steinway Peace Piano, which will travel around the world for the next two years to promote peace, will make a stop in Philadelphia from Oct. 11 through Oct. 14 for a series of performances by jazz musicians including Dave Burrell, Eric Mintel, the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, and Tom Lawton. The piano—specially designed to increase the public’s awareness of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and to raise money for children through music—will be at Philadelphia’s WRTI’s 90.1 FM’s new studio and will have special concerts each day, including an all-day Jazz Jam for Peace.

The Steinway Peace Piano made its debut in May 2004, when acclaimed Steinway artist and newly appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lang Lang became the first pianist to play it. Since then, and for the next two years, the piano will tour the world in a series of events, including concerts and “perform-a-thons” by local children to raise money for other children around the world.

“The Steinway Peace Piano will have a profound effect on children in need and to those who will learn more about the mission and work of UNICEF through the tour and concerts… UNICEF’s work spans the globe so it is only fitting that we have a partner that can help us spread our message through the only universally recognized language, music,” said Charles Lyons, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The Peace Piano is a re-creation of a historic Steinway concert grand piano that was first exhibited at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and it serves as the culmination of Steinway’s celebration of its 150th birthday. The Peace Piano is the second instrument produced as part of Steinway and Sons’ Legendary Collection, a campaign to re-create Steinway and Sons’ most historically significant pianos. The original piano was designed by early 20th century art deco designer Walter Dorwin Teague and is now housed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

However, the Steinway Peace Piano was designed slightly differently from its original. In keeping with the theme of peace, hand-carved golden doves, each grasping an olive branch, replace the golden eagles on the case of the piano above each leg. The lower apron of the piano is painted gold and adorned with 63 stars, while the bottom edge of the piano holds 195 flags for all the nations of the world. The 35 flags across the front of the piano represent developed nations that are aiding UNICEF’s relief efforts, such as the U.S., Great Britain, and other European countries.

WRTI is located at 1509 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, 3rd floor, Philadelphia, PA ; however, seating for the performances is limited and by invitation only.

Originally Published