Michael Pestel   •   Riverpiano (2005) Allegheny River, Pittsburgh



Photo by Bill Wade
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


A little water music on the Allegheny
Saturday, April 02, 2005

Passersby may have thought they were halucinating yesterday, but the scene below them on the Allegheny River was actually the portrayal of a dream.
Artist Michael Pestel performed improvisational tunes while seated at a baby grand piano, floating on a section of a dock going down the back channel of the Allegheny River near Washington's Landing. The performance art, which lasted about an hour, was videotaped by Andrew Johnson, at center in the photo, and others for showing during an exhibition that will open Friday at Chatham College, where Pestel is an assocate professor.
During the performance, Johnson will collaborate with West Virginia professor Paul Krainak in a piece inspired by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. The river scene portrayed yesterday is part of a dream by Villa-Lobos, where he is floating down a river playing a piano when it catches fire.
The scene was executed with help from Mike Lambert, far left, of Three Rivers Rowing, who, with help from Eric Lipsky, pushed the dock with a boat.