Britain's unidentified 'Piano Man' speaks only through music


LONDON -- The 6-foot stranger was found wandering in a rainstorm on the Isle of Sheppey in a dark business suit and tie.

He was drenched to the bone and wouldn't speak a word.

But on a sheet of paper provided by hospital workers, he drew what looked like a flag of Sweden and an elaborate rendering of a grand piano.

Hospital workers led him to a piano in the hospital chapel, where he seemed to play flawlessly. He has been playing ever since -- bits of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," and long sad compositions apparently of his own making -- for up to four hours at a time. He protests when he is forced to stop.

Newspapers call him the "Piano Man," and nearly six weeks after he was found, the nation wonders: Who is this shy virtuoso?

Is he British or a foreigner? Did he fall off a ship? Or did he try to drown himself? Is he an amnesiac? Or is he suffering mental trauma?

Over the weekend, authorities made a public appeal to try to identify him. A haunting photograph of the hospitalized man, who appears to be in his 20s or 30s and is clutching a plastic folder containing sheet music, appeared in national newspapers Monday. TV news was filled with pleas for any information.

Karen Dorey-Rees, a care manager at the Little Brook Mental Health Hospital in Dartford, where the man is a patient, said the public's help is needed because any information would aid doctors in their treatment of the man.

"We are just aware that he is a very vulnerable man and we would be putting him in a dangerous situation if we let him go," she said.

Officials at a missing-persons help line said they had received more than 150 calls from people who thought they might have information.

Autor: John Daniszewski, Los Angeles Times
Medio: Star Tribune
Fecha: Lunes 16 de mayo de 2005
Notas: Copyright 2005 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
ID: 1527 Editar

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