The Leeds Piano Competition / Trail 2021

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The Leeds International Piano Competition is a world-renowned music event. It has been running for 58 years, and such is its importance that it attracts over 1 million online views across more than 190 countries.

two photos showing sculptures from the Leeds Piano trail in situ
  • “Floating Pianos” (Photo left : Paul Maguire) is a sculpture featuring three upright pianos cut in half on an angle. These appear to be floating, or maybe sinking, into the ground. Location: Briggate.
  • “The Elephant in the Room” (Photo right: Anthony Ravelo) creates the impression of giant tusks highlighting the past suffering of the elephant in the supply of ivory to the piano industry. Location: Cookridge Street.

Initial rounds of the piano competition take place at various locations around the world, with heat winners competing in the finals in Leeds (UK) this September.

photo showing the Piano Cube by Pianodrome on a paved area
  • “Piano Cube” (Photo: Anthony Ravelo) is made from six upright pianos, and balances on a single point with the message “think outside the box”. Location: Trinity Leeds.

To celebrate the competition, organisers have planned a series of piano-related events across the city. One of these is the Leeds Piano Trail.

Up-Cycled Pianos

For the duration of the festival, a unique series of installations featuring ten sculptures made entirely from up-cycled pianos will appear across the city.

photo of sandblasted grand piano with half one side "blown" away.
  • “The Sounds of Time” (Photo: Anthony Ravelo) is a grand piano that has had much of the treble end sand blasted away exposing the instrument’s inner workings. Location: Kirkgate Market.

These sculptures have been created by the critically acclaimed artists’ collective known as Pianodrome. Eleven other pianos, transformed into playable artworks by local-based artists and community groups, appear alongside the sculptures.

Pianodrome is based in Edinburgh, and takes its name from its original creation ‘The Pianodrome” — the world’s first 100-seater amphitheatre constructed entirely from unwanted pianos.

photo showing end view of a grand piano with a large square wooden megaphone mounted on top
  • “Power to the People” (Photo: Anthony Ravelo) is a grand piano with a large megaphone sitting atop the closed lid, amplfying the pianist’s voice at the expense of the piano’s sound. Location: Mandela Gardens.

Pianos and sculptures are dotted around the city’s key locations and feature in a series of special events. These include: free piano lessons; a night walk around the various placements; a construction workshop; a piano-planting session (using a piano as the “garden”), and much more.

The Leeds Piano Trail brings the piano out from the concert hall and onto the streets for all to enjoy.

The above images show just a few of the unique sculptures and instruments. For more information go to the Leeds Piano Trail website.


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