Something for the Weekend: Pianist paddles down the Amazon

Greek pianist Panos Karan undertakes an unusual concert tour...

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Intrepid pianist Panos Karan travelled the length of the Amazon river – over 4,000 miles – armed with a portable keyboard and a canoe, in an attempt to bring the world of classical music to remote villages.

Having set off in March this year, Karan travelled from Coca, Ecuador to Belem, Brazil, performing 15 recitals in 15 remote villages along the way. The idea behind the unusual recital tour was to introduce classical music to the villages along the Amazon, whose inhabitants aren't able to travel to traditional concert halls.

‘Our generation of musicians has reached unprecedented refinement and virtuosity in musical performance, having been taught in specialist schools and conservatoires,’ said Karan. ‘Music, however, and its benefits can be felt by everyone, not just professionals and specialists. A Bach Prelude and Fugue or a Rachmaninov Piano Concerto belong to the Amazon Rainforest as much as to the glamorous stage of Carnegie Hall.’

The pianist set up the charity, Keys of Change, last year with the aim of taking classical music to remote areas of the world.

Alice Gräfin Grote