Does this man strike a chord with you?


The identity of a man found wandering on a beach in an evening suit and who will not talk but who expertly plays piano concertos for hours is baffling police.

The six-foot tall man, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, has been dubbed the 'Piano Man' since being found, soaked to the skin, on a beach on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, five weeks ago. Now in a psychiatric unit at Medway Maritime Hospital, in Gillingham, he will not speak but, when left a pen and paper, drew a Swedish flag and a picture of a piano.

When staff sat him at a piano in the hospital chapel, he played expertly for two hours and, since, has staged recitals lasting up to four hours.

However, despite his picture being posted on the website of the National Missing Persons Helpline, nobody has identified him yet, though people have come forward to say that they believe they have seen him play at concert halls throughout Europe.

Orchestras are now being contacted to see if they can identify him. "We have had a lot of calls from members of the public telling us they have seen him performing in various parts of Europe," said Ramanah Venkiah, manager of the psychiatric unit.

"He has been playing the piano to a very high quality for up to four hours at a time and staff say it is a real pleasure to hear it. But we still have no idea who he is because he is not speaking."

The man was found by two police officers in the early hours on the front at Sheerness. It was raining hard and officers have been unable to ascertain if the man had been in the water.

He is physically fit and has no health problems.

Despite the fact that he drew a Swedish flag, police believe that the man is probably English. He has short brown hair, is of slim build, and is believed to have suffered a mental breakdown.

Michael Camp, a care worker, said: "He may have had a traumatic experience. He appears to be a professional pianist of exceptional ability and has amazed everyone who has heard him.

"When he plays, all his anxiety disappears. Away from the piano, he starts to breathe very quickly and nervously shies away from people."

The plight of the man has echoes in the story of David Helfgott, the Australian pianist, who overcame a nervous breakdown to return to performing. His experience formed the basis of the 1996 film Shine starring Geoffrey Rush.

Anyone who recognises the "Piano Man" is asked to contact the National Missing Persons Helpline on 020 8392 4509.

Autor: David Sapsted
Medio: telegraph.co.uk
Fecha: Lunes 16 de mayo de 2005
Notas: © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.
ID: 1583 Editar

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