10 x 100 x 10: The numbers of Piano City Milano 2021

16.06.2021, by Laura Pavan

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Piano City Milano is back with over a hundred concerts and other special events held in 10 of Milan’s most symbolic venues, with a particular focus on inclusivity and environmental sustainability.

What makes a city? There are many factors at play: the Pantone-like shades of the houses scattered around its territory, the bouquet of scents pouring out of homes at dinner-time and out of cafes at happy hour, the quavering, dancing skyline of its buildings at dawn. But one thing more than anything else can define a city’s identity: the music and culture experienced by its inhabitants. Cities change fast, and Milan has undergone many changes in the past ten years. But Piano City Milano, having slowly made its way into Milanese hearts, has evolved alongside the city, becoming an integral part of its soul.

The festival’s format comes from afar: first conceived in 2010 by German pianist Andreas Kern in Berlin, it was “imported” to Milan by Ludovico Einaudi in 2011. Now, 10 years later, the festival is more alive than ever, thanks to a constant synergy between the Milan municipality and the Piano City Milano association, together with longtime producers Accapiù and Ponderosa Music&Art.

With more than 3000 artists and over 100.000 spectators in a thousand specially-selected venues under its belt, Piano City is now bringing its live performances back on the occasion of its tenth birthday; even though, truth be told, Piano City Milano never stopped, not even in 2020, when the festival’s music was the first to echo through the city’s streets and cultural venues after the sad interlude of the first lockdown.

Now, in 2021, Piano City Milano will once again be held in a hybrid format, with a program featuring live-streamed events as well as over a hundred concerts in a handful of atmospheric venues, but no performances in private homes or courtyards. In spite of these new limitations, Piano City will stay faithful to its original idea: being Milan’s first city-wide music festival, with strong links to local neighborhoods and an aim to make its quality inclusive, a gift to all, by holding its concerts in unconventional spaces and venues. This festival does not sit around waiting for an audience, but will search for it by spreading its music farther with every passing year.

The festival is engaged in a constant dialogue with a city full of contradictions and constantly ready to redefine itself: a Milan that looks back to its past, but is firmly rooted in the present and projected towards the future. Milan as a multicultural and truly European city, open to the world at large.

This year the Piano City program is richer than ever, and its notes will echo through some of the most symbolic neighborhoods in the city: Via Padova and Nolo, San Siro, Chiaravalle and Ortica, but also splendid landmarks such as the Giardini della Galleria D’Arte Moderna, Triennale Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano, BASE Milano, Volvo Studio Milano, and even the brand-new gardens in Via Dezza.

The 2021 festival, directed by Ricciarda Belgiojoso and Titti Santini, will hold its first, not-to-be-missed performance by Roberto Fonseca on June 25th at the GAM; over the next few days this will be followed by other special events, including an homage to Dante on the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death, and tributes to musical giants such as Chick Corea, the Beatles, Franco Battiato, Ennio Morricone and Paolo Castaldi. On June 26th, Piano City Milano will travel as far as the rice fields and farms of Parco Agricolo Sud, for a performance by the young musicians of the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado.

A long musical weekend, featuring international guests from a wide range of genres, including Frida Bollani Magoni, Kai Schumacher, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Vinicio Capossela, Vittorio Cosma, Emanuele Torquati and many, many more. Atmospheric sunrise performances will be held at 5 AM at the Ippodromo SNAI San Siro, where Cesare Picco will perform his “Ritual for a New Dawn” on June 26th, and Thomas Umbaca will play a “Concert for Light Dreamers” on June 27th.

Like every year since its creation, Piano City Milano is once again ready to become the narrative voice and soundtrack of an ever-evolving urban landscape, and to do so with an eye to sustainability. All events will be free of charge, though bookings will be mandatory through the festival’s official website. On a dedicated page, the festival’s e-mobility partner Be Charge will provide suggestions on how to reach performance venues with its electric vehicles.

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