Chopin Without Piano premieres at Swarthmore College next week
Chopin Without Piano | photo by Natalia Kabanow via The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage

A new orchestral / theatrical production called Chopin Without Pianowill have its local premiere at Swarthmore College on October 24th, followed by a handful of performances at FringeArts in Old City. The show pairs Polish actor Barbara Wysocka with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for a new take on Frederyk Chopin’s piano concertos.

The title of the performance is not meant to be puzzling. Chopin Without Piano will literally be a performance of Chopin’s work without the traditional use of a piano. Instead, Wysocka will interact and engage with the instrument in a exploratory manner while the orchestra plays around her. As Swarthmore Professor Barbara Milewski says, “Chopin is the ‘Piano Composer.’ So when you encounter the title Chopin Without Piano, it takes that first identity marker of Chopin and it throws it away.”

The performance’s pondering of pianos and the contemporary place of classical music also involves some grassroots collaboration. Five “lost pianos” have been placed around the city, with an invitation for people to interact with them however they see fit. From Andrew Lipke:

“These pianos are there to be engaged with in traditional and nontraditional ways and that’s where you all come in! [These] pianos are there for you to play with.  And that means pretty much anything you would like to do with them….play the insides, the outsides, the top, the bottom, paint them, dance on them, workout on them, buy them dinner….anything!”

The locations of the pianos are Christ Church Park, Columbus Square Park, FringeArts, Liberty Lands and the Welcome to Belmont Mural Park.

Watch a preview clip of the performance below. More information and tickets are available here.

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