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Presentation: Maria Canals "porta cua" project

As a part of the OFF Competition program and the Maria Canals “porta cua” project, the Maria Canals Association places grand pianos in several public spaces around Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, available to those who want to play.

Occasionally, educational sessions are organised for children, as well as performances featuring local music students, amateurs, professionals and contestants.

With this project, the Association is determined to break the grand public’s social, cultural and mental barriers in relation to music in general and to piano in particular. The grand piano embodies, like no other instrument, the enshrinement of a certain kind of music that is considered to be cultivated, difficult and inaccessible to musical practice.

Pianos in public areas -some of them being concert grand pianos- are available to everyone, even those who have never played before.

To break down barriers and reluctance, the pianos are placed directly on the floor without any rugs or platforms. Inscriptions in the pianos invite pedestrians to play, for instance: "Play me, I’m yours", or "Sit down. I am in your hands "...
To motivate the passersby, a volunteer plays the piano throughout the day. His function is to get pedestrians to play, even if they have never done so before.

In some pianos, educational sessions take place in the morning, in order for students to become acquainted with the instrument. In the afternoon, students from the neighbouring schools or music schools are encouraged to play.
Activities culminate in the evening with a free concert by a professional pianist.



Squares, streets and gardens

Most grand pianos are placed in parks, squares and gardens, usually in transit or stop-by areas so as many people as possible can benefit from the experience.

The competition has placed pianos in squares, streets and gardens of Barcelona’s 10 districts, as well as squares and streets of several towns in Catalonia and Spain.

Public cultural facilities

Since 2011, the Maria Canals Association has placed pianos in public cultural facilities such as the MNAC, MACBA, Pedrera, Biblioteca de Catalunya, Filmoteca de Catalunya, Auditori, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Fundació Miró and Museu Picasso, among others.

The aim is to encourage a multidisciplinary exchange between cultural institutions and artistic disciplines.


The Maria Canals Competition was a pioneer in carrying out cultural activities in the underground. Each year, coinciding with the competition, the Association places a grand piano in the waiting area of a subway station for 15 consecutive days. During the first years, the competition organised piano marathons by contestants and local music students in the waiting area of the University Underground Station.

In recent years, the competition places a grand piano in the Diagonal transfer station so anybody can play. Every afternoon, several choirs, high-degree piano students and music schools perform there.


The idea of placing pianos in the street began in Barcelona, but in recent years it has spread to other Catalan cities, as well as some of the most important cities in Spain such as Madrid, Bilbao or Seville. This has been possible with the support of Fundació Jesús Serra, the Diputació de Barcelona, the Generalitat de Catalunya and many municipalities.

Play me, I'm yours

In 2010, during the 15 days of the 57th edition of the Maria Canals International Music Competition, the Association placed 26 upright pianos in 26 spots (squares, streets and gardens) of the 10 districts in Barcelona. Several families and institutions donated the pianos, which were repaired and painted by young artists from the School of Fine Arts, and other social groups. British artist Luke Jerram came up with the idea and brought it to other cities worldwide, through the project "Play me, I'm yours!"

More information:

Painted pianos at Plaça Reial

Painted pianos at the Ciutadella Park

Passeig de Gràcia

The organisation places 10 grand pianos all over the Passeig de Gràcia, for a day, available to those who want to play. Since 2013, this takes place when the competition starts, and is made possible with the sponsorship of the Fundació Jesús Serra and the collaboration of the Amics del Passeig de Gràcia.

Passeig de Gràcia 2015

Passeig de Gràcia 2014

Passeig de Gràcia 2013

Marathon at Plaça Reial

Every year since 2010, the Association organises a piano marathon at the Plaça Reial between 11am and 21pm, together with the traders association of the Plaça Reial. Piano students from music schools, conservatories and other centers in Barcelona or its surroundings, are allowed to play.

The Fundació Setba also collaborates since 2015, organising plastic artisitic activities with the piano.

2015 Marathon at Plaça Reial

2014 Marathon at Plaça Reial

2013 Marathon at Plaça Reial

2012 Marathon at Plaça Reial

2011 Marathon at Plaça Reial


Since 2013, the Maria Canals Association has placed grand pianos in many cities in Catalonia with the support of the Diputació de Barcelona and the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Arenys de Mar
Palau Solità i Plegamans
Santa Coloma de Gramanet
Sant Cugat




Since 2012, the organisation places 7 grand pianos in Calle Serrano, available for those who want to play, coinciding with the winner’s concert at the Auditorio Nacional with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. This is possible thanks to the support of Fundació Jesús Serra.

Madrid 2014

Madrid 2013

Madrid 2012




Since 2013, the Competition places 7 grand pianos around the city, available for those who want to play, coinciding with the winner’s concert at the Auditorio del Palacio Euskalduna with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao. This is possible thanks to the support of Fundació Jesús Serra and Seguros Bilbao.

Bilbao 2014

Bilbao 2013


Teotronico, the robot-pianist

In 2015, the Competition invited Tetronico, the best robot-pianist in the world. Teotronico made several performances in schools and public areas such as streets, the underground or the MNAC.




T +34 932 957 251