Chicago Will Soon Be Invaded by Pianos: CSOA Kicks off Keys to the City Piano Festival

It’s safe to say that Chicagoans will be thrilled once NATO goes away. Not that we mind the attention from heads of state, but with the city in deadlock, no easy way to get in or out, protests, anarchists and what-have-you – yes, this can all go away.

Thankfully, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association will kick off the Keys to the City Piano Festival, in partnership with Steinway & Sons, on Wednesday, May 23 by hosting pianos at 11 Chicago institutions for the public to enjoy.

The pianos have been placed throughout some of Chicago’s most visited and iconic locations—libraries, museums, office buildings, shopping malls and hospitals—to give the public a chance to play on a Steinway piano. And decompress from all the NATO bedlam.

Pianos will be available for the public to play at the following locations and times:

77 W. Wacker Dr. Building
United Airlines Building
Main Lobby
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.                                                                   

900 N. Michigan Ave.
Second Floor Mezzanine
10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Café Galileo (Upper Level of Sky Pavilion)
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.                            

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Griffin Court
10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Access the piano with museum admission, or ask the CSO volunteer stationed at the Modern Wing entrance (159 E. Monroe St.)

Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State St.
Grand Lobby
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
East Atrium (Family and Group Entrance)
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital
251 E. Huron St.
Feinberg Pavilion
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Wilderness Walk
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Play the piano with museum admission or visit guest services and ask for an access pass to the piano at no charge.

Rush University Medical Center
1650 W. Harrison St.
4th Floor Atrium (outside Au Bon Pain)
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Rivers Exhibit Area
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Participants can download free general admission (an $8 value) to Shedd’s original aquarium galleries at

Willis Tower
233 S. Wacker Dr.
Franklin Lobby
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

From May 23 to June 12, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) hosts the Keys to the City Piano Festival. This festival explores the important role the piano has played, and continues to play, in our society. Curated by world renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, the festival spans all CSOA series from Symphony Center Presents (SCP)presentations to programs of the Institute for Learning, Access and Training to concerts featured on the CSO’s subscription series. In addition to numerous CSO and SCP performances, the highlight of the festival is the Free Chicago Piano Day on Sunday, May 27, hosted by actor and accomplished amateur pianist David Hyde Pierce, which features free recitals, seminars, demonstrations, films and free piano lessons throughout Symphony Center.

Photo Credit: TheMM

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