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Shenzhen gets in tune with cultural ambitions

Updated: Sep 5, 2023 By WANG XU in Shenzhen, Guangdong China Daily Print
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A security guard plays pianos placed under escalators in Huaqiangbei. YI YANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Street piano initiative attracts players from many walks of life

Yi Qunlin looked nothing like a musician when he pounded the keys of a grand piano at a newly built concert hall in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in May.

The 57-year-old forsook traditional concert attire of evening wear, opting instead to perform in a reflective safety vest and helmet.

Despite his unconventional appearance, he gave a masterly performance at the piano keyboard, and has since become an internet sensation.

Wu Bing, a member of the audience that day, said: "I was simply blown away by how proficient he is. He is brilliant."

Yi, the first person to perform in the new concert hall at the Cultural and Art Center in Guangming district, Shenzhen, could never have imagined that one day he would play the piano at a venue he helped build as a construction worker.

"Playing the piano in a concert hall is like a teenage dream come true," Yi said.

His interest was triggered when pianos were placed for the public to play near subway entrances in Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei, one of the world's largest electronics markets. The instruments were positioned on a street more than 900 meters long.

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