Piano tour gathers community in Soldotna

Aug 28, 2017


New York-based musician Miki Sawada uses the piano as a gathering place and an instrument.
Credit Shaylon Cochran/KDLL



A classical music tour has been making its way through the state. Last week, Miki Sawada made stops on the Peninsula as part of her Gather Hear Alaska project. She’s got a piano, a U-Haul truck, a documentary filmmaker and a couple hours’ worth of music to share. She performed last week at Odie's Deli.






Miki Sawada has toured around the world and now, she’s brought her talents to Alaska as part of an effort to show how music, and classical music in particular, can to bring together communities.

“I’m doing this because I’m really interested in the idea of the piano as a gathering place. I think it’s amazing that when there’s a piano in any space, people want to gather around. They want to feel the keys, see what it sounds like, they want to play, they want to sing. I think that’s really magical that one single object can do that and teach us to become better listeners through music.”

“I came up with this idea two days after the election. I was just thinking of how divided the country is. I think people deep down want to know what the other side, whatever the other side is, how they think and what their lives look like. There’s just this huge divide and it feels like you can’t get over the divide. So I wanted to get portrait of America through this positive lens of classical music. And a whimsical one, with me traveling the country with a piano and a van.”

“Maybe if you’ve never heard classical music, you expect it to be background music. But once I start playing, people just listen and the quality of the silence I get is incredible.”

Sawada is also turning the tour into a documentary. She continues her trip through Alaska with gigs this week up into the Interior before wrapping up in Anchorage on September 7th.