World Pianist Day
Also known as
International Pianist Day (since 2016)
annually on November 8th
Ivan Manko in 2014
Music & Sound
Work & Career
Since 2014, World Pianist Day has provided an opportunity to "treasure the emotions pianists evoke with their performances and celebrate their mastery of playing the piano." The day was created by Ivan Manko, a pianist and cultural activist from Belarus. The first year was supported by other Belarusian pianists, including Alexander Polyakov, who along with Manko organized a concert dedicated to pianists and piano music. The Belarusian State Philharmonic Society joined the celebration the following year. World Pianist Day began being referred to as International Pianist Day in 2016 after Polyakov hosted an event for the day in China, where he was teaching at the time.
Each year, those behind the day organize events and activities dedicated to it. During its first few years, it was officially celebrated in Belarus, Russia, China, Austria, Israel, and Ukraine. A concert was held at the Botanical Garden of Moscow State University, in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, and the streets of Jerusalem. In Minsk, pianist Nikolai Panok played for six hours without stopping. Today, concerts and meetings with musicians are held all around the world. "Free piano" events are organized. Some music stores offer discounts. The Pianists Association's "Award for Merit" is given out.
A pianist is an individual who plays the piano. Many composers and songwriters are pianists, which allows them to experiment with chords and polyphony while writing. Many conductors and bandleaders are pianists too. Pianists may specialize in one or more musical genres—or at the intersections between them—such as folk, classical, jazz, blues, rock, and pop. Many composers of the Classical and Romantic eras wrote music for the piano, including Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Haydn, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. A few prominent pianists of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries include Arthur Rubinstein, Van Cliburn, Liberace, Mitsuko Uchida, George Winston, Richard Clayderman, and Victor Borge.
Jazz pianists usually perform with other musicians, and are less constrained and more spontaneous than classical pianists. Some of the biggest names in jazz piano are Dave Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Fats Waller, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, and Brad Mehldau. Many pianists are in more of a singer-songwriter mold, often playing pop or rock, sometimes with influences from jazz or the blues. Some of the most acclaimed are Carole King, Elton John, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, John Legend, Norah Jones, Dr. John, Regina Spektor, Lady Gaga, Sara Bareilles, and Tom Waits.
How to Observe World Pianist Day
- Organize or attend a piano concert.
- Set up or take part in a "free piano" event, where a piano is set up in an open-air area, at a mall or university, or in another public space, and pianists take turns playing.
- Play the piano.
- Buy a piano or keyboard. Look for discounts in honor of the day on pianos and piano-related items.
- Sign up for piano lessons.
- Donate an unused piano to someone in need of one.
- Read a book or watch a film that focuses on pianists.
- Listen to some pianists and music that features piano. You could listen to some of the pianists mentioned above in the holiday's description, or check out some pianists from these lists: