Stories » On Piano Day, Spotify speaks with Lang Lang, George Winston, and other pianists about their instrument

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On Piano Day, Spotify speaks with Lang Lang, George Winston, and other pianists about their instrument

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In a triumph of poetic scheduling, Piano Day is celebrated on the eighty-eighth day of every year. So today, March 29, there'll be events all over the planet in honor of the eighty-eight-key wonder that has produced so much amazing music for more than three centuries.

"The piano should be our best friend," says classical virtuoso Lang Lang, whose Piano Book album comes out, appropriately enough, on Piano Day. "The more you practice, the more you know about the instrument. The instrument speaks more intimately to you, and you will feel more. It's just like friendship: When you're always talking to each other, you will have a better connection. It's exactly the same with piano."

In celebration of Piano Day, Spotify spoke to Lang Lang, George Winston, and other pianists about their formative experiences with the instrument. "He played with the most incredible touch, and with the most magical pedals and the most imaginative sound," says Lang Lang of Vladimir Horowitz's performance of Schumann's Träumerei (Dreaming) in Moscow in 1986, one of Lang Lang's most cherished piano memories. "And he played in a very different way every time. If you want to hear a great concert, you need to feel the complete diversity of emotions in one piece. And also the stage presence is so important-he owned the piece."

George Winston, the legendary pianist who pretty much invented New Age music, remembers how the instrument first pulled him in. "I started playing the organ when I was eighteen in 1967, inspired by The Doors," he says. "In 1971, when I heard stride pianist Thomas ‘Fats' Waller's recordings from the late 1920s and mid-1930s, I immediately switched to solo piano." Winston, whose album Restless Wind comes out May 3, recalls the way the piano's possibilities informed the development of his own influential style. "I loved the piano sustain," he says of the instrument's unique timbre when drawing out notes, "which I liked better than the sustain of organ or strings or any other kind of sustain that any instrument has. This is a big part of the melodic folk piano style that I came up with in 1971."

Whether on Piano Day or any other day, you can celebrate the instrument on Spotify. Check out Piano in the Background, Peaceful Piano, and Piano Ballads.