The Leeds Piano Trail has won one of the classical music industry’s highest honours, a Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

Billed by BBC Radio 3 as the ‘BAFTAs for classical music’, the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards are classical music’s annual good news story, shining much-needed light on inspirational individuals, groups and initiatives whose music has lifted hearts and minds across the nation.

Presented by Leeds International Piano Competition (LIPC) and LeedsBID, the Leeds Piano Trail brings music to every street corner. In 2021, over 206k people experienced the pianos and sculpture trail. The unique Edinburgh-based artist collective, Pianodrome, handcrafted a set of iconic sculptures created entirely from recycled pianos and placed them alongside artist and community-decorated playable instruments. Through the sculptures, performances and workshops, the theme of the Trail highlighted the dangers of the climate crisis, and the permanent piano trail has environmental sustainability running through it.

The recognition of the Leeds Piano Trail builds on the recent popularity of street pianos with Channel 4’s ‘The Piano’, hosted by Claudia and judged by pop star Mika and international pianist and LIPC’s global ambassador Lang Lang, making national headlines. Last week saw the show come to Leeds, with Lucy, a 13-year-old who is visually impaired and neurodiverse, leaving the judges speechless.

Fiona Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Competition said: “We are so excited to receive this prestigious RPS Award. The Leeds Piano Trail has done so much more than bring music to public spaces in our city. The pianos reveal incredible stories of people from all walks of life and their connection to music – astonishing everyday talents that remain hidden until they find themselves at the keys of a street piano. We are delighted to shine a light on them and are grateful to the many venues, partners and artists in our community who make it all possible.

RPS Chief Executive James Murphy said: “With much recent reportage about funding cuts to the arts, what a story we have to share about classical musicians’ creativity, generosity and resilience. The RPS Awards shortlists represent thousands of musicians who devote their lives to uplifting, inspiring and uniting communities nationwide.”

The Leeds Piano Trail brings the Leeds International Piano Competition into the heart of the city. 10 reclaimed and redecorated pianos have been permanently installed by Leeds artists and community groups, including Leeds MIND and Leeds Playhouse, and the Trail will see 1.8 million people experience the piano during Leeds 2023 Year of Culture.

  • Forthcoming Piano Trail events will be held on Saturday 4th March, Saturday 1st April, and Saturday 6th May
  • Pianos on the Leeds Piano Trail can be found and played at: Trinity Leeds, Victoria Quarter, Kirkgate Market, The Light, Leeds Playhouse and Merrion Centre.

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