UPDATED: A Piano Sprouts on Bernal Hill, Seeking Pianists


The sudden onset of warm weather is having a strange effect on the Bernal Heights ecosystem. (Cue: Koyaanisqatsi)

First we got a marmot, then there was a Bikini Jogger sighting, and now a piano has sprouted on Bernal Hill.

Anyone have any idea what the hell it’s doing there?

And/or, when do the ad-hoc ragtime hilltop sing-alongs begin? Because apparently, that kind of thing is encouraged:


UPDATE, 9:30 PM: Our local pianists are rising to the challenge. Neighbor Heinz reports:

Here is a picture taken today of a lady playing the piano on top of Bernal Hill.. She was playing in front of a small crowd of about 8 -12 people.. There was also another gentleman that played before her.


And check this out! Neighbor Christopher made a movie of someone performing the Star Wars theme!

Neighbor Ros captured another pianist in action at sunset:


Looks like the same pianist, but @ddotkdot captured this stunner:


UPDATE 2 (28 June)

Well, that didn’t take long. Neighbor Jonathan shows us that the Bernal Piano was tagged with graffiti overnight:


But still, the band plays on. Neighbor Mike comments:

Tagging has no impact on the performance of the instrument. It actually adds character to the piano, in my opinion. I got a text about the piano yesterday and got to play a little today in the hot sun!

PHOTOS: Top, Neighbor Jonathan. Below, Neighbor Heinz, Neighbor Ros, @ddotkdot, Neighbor Jonathon

24 thoughts on “UPDATED: A Piano Sprouts on Bernal Hill, Seeking Pianists

    • Hi, Bernal resident film maker Dean Mermell, here. I can’t believe this happened almost literally in my back yard…We are at this moment making a film about Mauro ffortissimo’s current project, he created the Sunset Piano in Half Moon Bay. The latest project is Sunset Piano Opus Two for Twelve Pianos, placing a dozen pianos at select locations on the San Mateo coast… Check out our Kickstarter here:

  1. Whar movie were they filming in our neighborhood this morning (Thursday ) on Alabama St & Ripley St. Anyone know?

  2. super lovely now, but what happens as it falls into disrepair and becomes more junk on the hill? isn’t this still dumping?

  3. Tagging has no impact on the performance of the instrument. It actually adds character to the piano, in my opinion. I got a text about the piano yesterday and got to play a little today in the hot sun!

  4. Hello, I am the pianist featured in the photos taken at sunset last night. Seeing the piano tagged like that makes me unspeakably sad and angry. It does not add “character”; rather, it is a stark reminder that no matter what good there is in the world there will always be someone that will try to ruin it. This was an act of petty vandalism, pure and simple.

    • I feel the same. The experience of hearing a woman play Chopin yesterday afternoon against such a backdrop made my heart happy. This is ignorance, impure and simple.

    • I’m no fan of tagging, but I’m in no position to argue with its meaning to a lot of people as an art form. As such, I don’t think their criminal act (and yeah, sure, it was criminal) was any more disgraceful than that of the litterer who left that piano there — one person’s meat is another person’s poisson. I think we might all agree the saddest disgrace is the removal of the piano, which was an entirely legal and defensible move by the Parks Dept. Nothing’s easy.

      • Another man’s viande is another one’s poisson! true, both acts were illegal to a certain extant, but which one had more poetry?

  5. Very sad that the city couldn’t leave it a bit longer. Let our neighborhood enjoy it!

    I went up there yesterday afternoon hoping to see if anyone was playing it, and it was already gone!

  6. My friends brought this happening into being. The piano was hauled away by the city, so they got another one for one more night ( which they took away with them at the end of the night)

    • Please thank your friends for all they did.

      I’ll be writing to David Campos to request a lighter touch from Rec & Parks when it comes to free music in the parks. End the war on fun!

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  10. This beautiful piano live with me for many years on moultrie street. I found it on the sidewalk on 20th and treat in 1999. I couldn’t take it with me when I moved in 2006. Nice to see it ended its love in a beautiful place with many enjoying music and company. Wish I would’ve been there

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