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Fosun helps bring pianos to New York streets

By Judy Zhu in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-06-05 16:23
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Eileen Kinberg, a retired New Yorker, plays on an artist-designed Sing for Hope piano in Liberty Plaza in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. Fifty-one pianos will be placed in parks and public spaces across all five boroughs through June 24. JUDY ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Eileen Kinberg, who has been playing piano at home for almost 60 years, now gets to show off her skills on city streets this summer.

"It's fantastic. The pianos are out in public, and they go to schools and hospitals. It gives us music when people really need it," said Kinberg, who is also a volunteer at Sing for Hope. The non-profit organization signs up volunteer musicians to play piano at Mount Sinai Hospital on 101st Street in Manhattan.

Starting Monday and continuing to June 24, Sing for Hope began filling New York City's parks and public spaces with artist-designed pianos.

The pianos' music connects with an estimated 2 million New Yorkers annually each June. The instruments will eventually be donated to 50 New York City public schools.

"Every year it's a group of new pianos. Every one of them is a new creation by a different artist," said Camille Zamora, co-founder of Sing for Hope.

"These pianos will not only provide music for three weeks in June, they will also serve 15,000 New York City students annually after the pianos are delivered to their permanent homes at our 'Citizen Artist Schools,' sparking inspiration as a tool for future artists for years to come," Zamora said in a press release.

Fosun International Ltd, based in Shanghai, has donated a 34,000-square-foot floor at 28 Liberty, a landmarked office tower in Lower Manhattan, to serve as a communal studio for the artists designing the pianos.

"Three years ago, they came to me and said, 'I see you have a lot of empty space in the building, how about holding a few pianos? Here we are. Three years later, it is basically taking over the place," Thomas Costanzo, Managing Director, leasing for Fosun Property Holdings, said in discussing the sponsorship at 28 Liberty Plaza in Monday's piano unveiling.

"We are very proud to be part of this, for the project embodies the characteristics that we really strive to create for the community. We have fought for a permanent space for this partnership," Costanzo said.

After improvising a piece on a tropical-colored piano, Kinberg said the music brings people together.

"There are all levels of musicians and opera singers. You have people who went to Julliard, you have kids, you have the intermediate. The point is no matter how great a musician you are, just go public, sit down on ivories and meet fabulous people."

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