Pianos at the ready as orchestra of events starts in the city

17th August 2018

New artwork in conjunction with the Leeds Piano Trail and Leeds International Piano Competition adorn the Windows of Leeds letters in Leeds Station, designed by Leeds illustrator Joe Boyd.


Leeds is all set to celebrate the piano in grand style.

Instruments are at the ready for the start of four weeks of events in conjunction with the Leeds International Piano Competition to illustrate the appeal and playfulness of the piano.

A dozen beautifully decorated pianos are in situ in iconic locations across the city centre from today (Friday 17th August) for members of the public to play and enjoy as part of the Leeds Piano Trail, brought to the city by the Competition in association with LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District).

The pianos, supplied by Leeds-based Besbrode Pianos, have each been striking decorated by local artists, art students, schoolchildren and community groups and include an illuminated instrument, one with a covering of fur and another which has been soundproofed and fitted with a gramophone funnel.

Leeds resident and self-taught pianist Rowan Lewis, 20, helped ensure the pianos were tuned up before going out on the trail. Rowan, who has been playing the piano since age 11, has started formal piano lessons and is working towards his goal of becoming a concert pianist.

The pianos, popping up in Leeds Station, Trinity Leeds, the Corn Exchange, Kirkgate Market, University of Leeds and Central Square among others, are there for people to try their hands at the keys as well as hosting an array of musical performances by local music students and pianists, Competition alumni, competitors and celebrity guests! People can pick up a specially produced map and visit to discover all 12 and find out more about forthcoming performances.

Glamorous and influential star violinist Esther Abrami and members of the Yorkshire Young Sinfonia are taking centre stage at a number of pianos to mark the launch of the trail this lunchtime, with Leeds Station and Trinity Leeds among the locations, in advance of their concert at Leeds Town Hall later in the evening.

Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station, is media partner for the Leeds Piano Trail and has joined in by decorating its own piano for anyone to play Leeds station. Classic FM will broadcast its popular More Music Breakfast show, presented by Tim Lihoreau, from its studios in Leeds on Friday 14th September.

Leeds Piano Trail is part of an innovative packed programme of piano-themed events planned for audiences across the city to take part in and enjoy in the coming month in conjunction with the return of the prestigious competition to the city in September.

LeedsBID has been instrumental in supporting other headline activities including new piano-themed artwork unveiled in the Windows of Leeds letters in Leeds Station and the World’s Smallest Concert Hall located in Victoria Gardens in the vicinity of Leeds Town Hall in finals week from 10th-14th September. This specially-kitted out shipping container will play host to an engaging daily programme of free events including 10-minute recitals by competitors and jury members, taster piano lessons, and talks and educational activities for local community groups so people can engage with this world-famous event in a new way.

The Leeds, as it is known, is held in the city every three years and is one of the world’s foremost music competitions. A host of talks, masterclasses, exhibitions, free family events and concerts have been added to the Competition, as well as a range of opportunities for the people of Leeds and beyond to get involved.

Keep up-to-date with all details pop-up performance and free events and activities as part of the Piano Trail and in the World’s Smallest Concert Hall by visiting

Ticketed public events and activities are on sale at @leedspiano