• 2024.06.14
  • Piano City Milano
People flock to southern Italy for its exquisite natural beauty along with its rich cuisine and culinary culture. These attractions offer plenty for a delightful stay in the country.

Milan, on the other hand, is a gray, cloudy city in Northern Italy bustling with commercial, industrial, and financial activity. As one of its residents, I eat its bland vegetables, fruit that weirdly stays in the refrigerator for weeks without either ripening or spoiling, and meat from factory farms designed only for mass production.

I get so sick of this “bland” city that I sometimes insist I’m going to leave it… and yet? When I hear the overseas visitors rave about the delicious food despite the general food situation (maybe because they only go to the best places) it makes me want to cringe, but compared to the culinary situation in other countries, I guess I shouldn’t sell Milan short.

I recently went to an event that also made me realize that I needed to appreciate the city more. It was a three-day piano concert event called Piano City Milano, and they’ve been holding it annually since 2012.

The event involves piano concerts in various locations around Milan, including places where people wouldn’t normally have concerts—private residences, parks, factory sites, and so on. Another feature is that most of them are free and open to anyone who wants to attend.

The event brings in both world-renowned pianists and up-and-coming young artists to perform, with a schedule that includes a wide range of genres from classical and jazz to pop and beyond.

One of the piano teachers I know has a beautiful grand piano in her living room, and she made it available to the festival for a concert, bringing the event even closer to home for me.

People in Italy have been buzzing in recent years about how young people are losing their connection to classical music. They complain about how they don’t attend classical music performances, but one reason they don’t is because young people don’t feel welcome in the stiff atmosphere. It’s a totally different world than the freedom of a rock or pop concert—there always seem to be unspoken rules about when you can and can’t clap, for example.

Piano City Milan breaks through that mold by offering unique concert venues where young people who might hesitate to go to a classical music performance can still encounter the magic of traditional Western music.

Because the event has such a spirit of openness and freedom about it, it brings all kinds of unique experiences. One is a “piano marathon” where pianists play nonstop hour after hour. Another is a middle-of-the-night performance that creates a unique quiet and romantic setting for people to enjoy the music until dawn. Some even bring sleeping bags with them. Birds start singing during the concert at daybreak, creating a moving experience where nature’s music blends with ours. I heard that in one program, a pianist who ran into technical problems when the power to their electric piano failed started singing with the audience and clapping to create an improvisational performance that rallied the crowd.

Piano City Milano is not just a simple music festival—it’s an event that brings unexpected and memorable surprises.


  • Yuriko Mikami
  • JobMusician

A cellist based in Milan. Performs as a soloist also with some ensembles. Has a wide range of genres from classic to pop. Actually plays in a band on an Italian comedian's TV show.

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