The faces have it. Serene, contemplative, joyful, brooding – the pianist wears as many expressions as he has reasons for playing the piano. Whether it’s a fleeting encounter or a lifelong affair, it’s difficult to deny the allure of an empty seat in front of a piano. The enchantment not only lies in imagining that we could adequately fill the seat, but that we could provide a public and personal service through the instrument. In his article Über Musik (On Music), Nietzsche insists that “music […] provides pleasant entertainment and saves everyone who is interested in it from boredom. All humans who despise it should be considered mindless, animal-like creatures. […] Let us sing out in eternal praise to God who is offering us this beautiful enjoyment” (1858). Amen.
Babe Ruth knocks that concerto out of the ball park.
- Marlene Dietrich serenades Billy Wilder.
Leo Tolstoy and his daughter Alexandra play a duet.
Piano practice is family time for the Kings.
Quantum theory, music theory; it’s all the same to Max Planck.
Play me a dirge, James Joyce.
An accomplished pianist, Condoleezza Rice has a weekly date with her chamber group.
Charlie Chaplin composed and arranged the scores for many of his films.
Sing-along with Margaret Thatcher.
“God gave us music so that we, first and foremost, will be guided upward by it.”
-A 14-year old Friedrich Nietzsche
Muhammad Ali and Etta James share an octave and a laugh.
Albert Schweitzer finds time for a song.
Buster Keaton, Oliver Hardy, and Stan Laurel express varying levels of interest in the piano.
Clint Eastwood owns a restaurant in Carmel, California, which of course features a piano bar.
Amateur pianist Roland Barthes uses his piano for support as well as music.
“My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.”
-Harry S. Truman
The night time is the right time for a little music between Joe Louis and Lena Horne.
Camping: Ford family-style. Henry and Edsel commune with nature and their player piano.
Albert Einstein entertains.
Les pianistes terribles with Jean Cocteau.
It’s official: The piano is the preferred instrument of boxers. Rocky Marciano and family.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger enjoys the music of Mozart and fellow countryman Bach.
Ain’t that a picture: Ansel Adams plays.