Listen for the music: Flower Piano event returns to GGP’s Botanical Garden July 7-18

Photo by Natalie Jenks

Photo by Natalie Jenks

Last summer, you may recall the public piano performance project that popped up at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. Pianos were randomly placed throughout the garden’s 55 acres, inviting artists and passerbys to sit down and play a tune.

What resulted was impromptu performances from children to grandmothers, mixed in with scheduled performances from professional musicians. And some unscheduled pros too – Steve Nieve of Elvis Costello’s band stopped by to play a set one Saturday.

The event is back this year with 12 pianos positioned throughout the Garden from July 7 through 18th. The pianos will be available for the public to play, and at specific times on the weekends, there will be professionals at the keys including classical artists Allison Lovejoy and Serene Han, composer Alex Conde, the slightly naughty Kitten on the Keys, and new music specialist Sarah Cahill who will be accompanied by violinist Kate Stenberg.

Plus special treats including the 80-piece Awesöme Orchestra, a sing along choir, piano duets, and special family-friendly activities with the costumed performers.

Flower Piano from Dean Mermell on Vimeo.

“We’ve started calling this the world’s first interactive music festival,” said Dean Mermell, one of the founders of Sunset Piano that organizes the event and provides the pianos.

“It’s a new paradigm that dissolves the line between performer and audience. So much of the magic is in the appreciation of the talents of all the people who are your neighbors, accountants, mechanics, grandmothers, you name it.”

All twelve pianos will be available for the public to play between 9am and 6pm each day with regular admission (free for San Francisco residents). You can view the professional performance schedule here.

Sarah B.

Photo by Natalie Jenks

Photo by Natalie Jenks


  1. People should note that the rapacious San Francisco Botanical Garden Society changed the name of Strybing Arboretum and now collects an $8 entry charge.

    Unless you can prove you live in SF proper, you will have to pay! And, no, the money does not directly benefit the 55 acres: taxpayers pay for that!

    This place should be FREE TO ENTER for everyone for this event!

  2. George, the Society collects the fee on behalf of the City and it has generated millions of dollars for the Garden since 2010. 70% of the Garden’s operating funds come from private donors, members, and visitors – community support is critical to making this place, like other local cultural institutions, vibrant.

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