Fabio Tedde has a personal mission to play every street piano on the planet. The pianos that we may be familiar with – such as those installed at King’s Cross – first appeared as part of the arts initiative ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ that originated in Birmingham in 2008. Luke Jerram set up a series of customised instruments as an interactive concept that caught on globally. Fabio admits falling in love with the idea. He has toured Los Angeles, playing twenty-four instruments, and Holland, to play 77 of 101 installed (the Guinness World Record). Fabio journeyed between fifteen Dutch towns in six days (a personal record), averaging twelve pianos a day – thirteen if you’re lucky!
Fabio met Luke Jerram in 2009. “We spoke for two minutes when I went to play in Soho Square, and I didn’t even know it was him!” This briefest of meetings would change Fabio’s life. He recollects “many amazing designs of pianos by different artists”, though from twenty-one Swiss instruments only one was painted a dark green. Tuning is also something that varies between locations and due to their popularity many of the London pianos are out of tune. Fabio recalls a rainy season in Blackburn where several instruments became worse for wear. In contrast, five grands in the Hungarian city of Pécs had volunteers manning protective covers for inclement weather.
Fabio travels whenever he can. Sometimes the pianos are installed during the same period in different cities – preventing him from spending time in both! His amazing adventures have amassed a thousand videos that are now in the process of editing for a two-hour documentary. Fabio is ever eager to meet other creatives, whether jamming with a jazz combo in Pécs or collaborating with composer Jenny Gould in London. A Belfast photographer named Sam recorded Fabio’s exploits across two days. In Hungary, three media students filmed the whole of his time there.
Signor Tedde hails from Italy where he laments a lack of pavement pianos. His method is “feeling” the music, and responding to and interpreting that feeling. Doubtless, it is a huge part of the attraction in seeking out the characterful street instruments. Fabio’s entire output is original composition played from memory. However, he notes that a freely-improvised piece will guarantee the greatest response. With a clear honesty he describes his playing as “romantic and melodic” and considers it “very ambient music, very relaxing”. And very popular too, being in continual demand across the capital.
For any musician, it is an immense achievement to make a living from your own music. Fabio does just that, seven days a week, and is now in his second decade of performing. He insists that “playing on the street is the best thing ever because there is no wall between you and the public. That’s why nearly every day I’m going to King’s Cross, even if the piano’s out of tune!” It is an inspiring tale, and long may his music keep playing.
– Martin Slidel
Fabio Tedde in Los Angeles, From April 2012: Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram. For three weeks beginning April 12, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra brings Play Me, I’m Yours to Los Angeles. Thirty pianos, designed and decorated by local artists and community organizations, are featured across Los Angeles County and are available for everyone to play, in celebration of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane’s 15th anniversary as LACO music director. Visit laco.org to learn more about Jeffrey and the Orchestra
More info at: http://streetpianos.com/la2012/
Since in March 2009, two of Fabio Tedde's hand-written compositions 'Wake
Up' and 'Why Fighting' from the album "Place For
Everyone" are being played in eleven central London Italian family
owned restaurants. Spaghetti House restaurant company have built a
bespoke music profile to cater to their clients entertainment in iconic
London locations such as Knightsbridge, Haymarket, St. Martin's Lane. Since April 2009, Fabio's music is also played at Westfield, Europe's largest shopping centre.
Spaghetti House are passionate about supporting an emerging Italian pianist by using their 11 restaurants as a stage, to broadcast Fabio's work.