It could have been another city around the world but it happened in Munich. I first encountered Davide Martello in Odeonsplatz, one of the main and crowded squares in Munich. His music turned this public space, once used to spread hate in one of the worst chapters in European history, into a stimulating cultural climate for urban dwellers. Ultimately this affects the city in a positive way.
Davide, a German-born pianist of Italian descent, is travelling to cities around the world with a self-made royal piano. He wants to use his piano music to surprise urban dwellers, inspire them and bring a piece of culture into public spaces.
‘Everything started when I played for the first time on the streets of Berlin. It was slowly evident to me that not only the music plays an important role at a concert but that the environment has a larger significance’ explains Davide.
‘When I arrive in a city, I look for a spacious public space to play. I love contrast; I love to play where music does not exist and create inspiring experiences for people. The freedom of playing on the streets gives me inspiration to compose and improvise pieces. The same goes the other way. I hope my music also inspires people by creating a sound space, which takes them on an imaginary journey within the real surrounding’, says Davide.
Closing doors of a tram, noise of a construction site, sirens, honking horns all get overlayed by Davide’s music.
‘It is very interesting to observe people’s reactions. It gives me the energy to keep doing this’. Once a policeman stopped by his piano and started playing.
Urban dwellers are hungry for memorable moments on the streets. They also seek inspiration outside conventional spaces like museums. Bringing culture into unexpected places is essential to a well-functioning city. As the ‘Ideas City’ initiative by the New Museum in New York puts it, ‘art and culture are essential to the future vitality of cities’.
In fact, as Davide pointed out, ‘unfortunately not everybody can afford culture’. Therefore, stimulating a cultural climate on the streets generates substantial intangible positive effects in the city.
Music is a common language to everybody, a bridge between different groups. Davide has travelled to play in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and at Gezi park in Istanbul when the protests were on going. Martello has been recognised by the European parliament for his “outstanding contribution to European cooperation and the promotion of common values”.
His aim is to play in every capital of the world with his grand piano. Donations by people and downloads of this music at iTunes or spotify support his initiative.
He is still on the road rocking the streets of every major city in the world.