Gallery: Piano in the sea launches Harwich Festival of the Arts

Director of the Harwich Festival of the Arts Diana Burrell and Artist Annea Lockwood

Director of the Harwich Festival of the Arts Diana Burrell and Artist Annea Lockwood - Credit: Archant

Many weird and wonderful objects have washed up on the Essex coastline over the years, but locals can’t remember ever seeing a piano on the beach before.

But over the coming fortnight, visitors to Harwich will be able to see, and even play, a grand piano nestled among the shingle.

The unusual musical installation has been created by New York artist Annea Lockwood to coinicide with this year’s Harwich Festival of the Arts, which launched today and runs until July 7. The organisers are encouraging people to tinkle the ivories and generally interact with the piano.

The festival’s artistic director Diana Burrell said: “We wanted something special to open the festival and it’s already making quite an impact. People are playing it, laughing and having their picture taken next to it.

“Putting the piano on the beach symbolises art and music among wilderness and nature, which is right for Harwich being next to the sea.”


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This is Ms Lockwood’s fourth piano installation. Over the years she has set fire to a piano in London and also placed one in a garden in Ingatestone. Part of the idea behind the installation is to see how the wind and sea change the instrument, which has been securely fixed to the beach.

Ms Lockwood is due to join Ms Burrell this evening in playing a specially-composed fanfare to launch this year’s festival, which features over 80 acts, exhibitions and events.

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Incuded in the programme is an art trail around the town, numerous musical performances at venues in Harwich and Dovercourt, poetry and music workshops, a BMX stunt performance, as well as the well-known Big Brass Band Food and Drink Festival at the Redoubt Fort.

“We’ve brought together an edgy mix of drama, jazz, contemporary dance and art exhibitions - there really is something for all tastes,” added Ms Burrell.

Visit www.harwichfestival.co.uk for more details.

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