'Piano Man' still not identified

LONDON, England -- British authorities trying to identify a mute pianist found wandering on a beach have been given more than 300 possible names, but have yet to establish his identity.

Health officials, who have joined forces with police to solve a mystery which has attracted global attention, said they had received more than 600 calls about the possible identity of the man.

A spokesman for health authorities in Kent, southern England, where the man was found on April 7 clad in a dripping-wet suit, from which all the labels had been cut, said reports he could be French were only "speculation."

Police in Rome said a Polish mime artist had identified the pianist found as a French musician from Nice named Steve Massone, although Massone's family has denied this.

An Italian Web site on Wednesday said the man could be Martin Sturefalt, a touring classical pianist from Sweden who had previously studied in London.

All efforts to communicate with the shy and agitated man, who is in his 20s or early 30s, have failed, leaving experts baffled over his identity.

Staff at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham gave the tall, blonde man a pen and paper in the hope he would write his name or draw his country's flag.

Instead, he drew highly detailed pictures of a grand piano, showing not only the keys, but also the intricate inner workings of the instrument.

When shown a piano in the hospital chapel, he played classical music "beautifully." Since then, he has written music, but remains mute.

Social worker Michael Camp said: "I cannot get within a yard of him without him becoming very anxious. Yet at the piano he comes alive. I can stand close to him and he is oblivious. It is extraordinary."

It was initially thought the man, who has been described as "very vulnerable," may have attended a local funeral, but inquiries proved he had not been to any services nearby.

Interpreters from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania were brought in to see if he was from Eastern Europe, and possibly an asylum seeker, but no-one could get through to the man, who is tall and thin.

He is now being held in a secure mental health unit in Kent, southern England, until a full assessment has been carried out.

The West Kent NHS Trust spokesman added: "The overwhelming response from the public, both in the UK and abroad, means there is a large quantity of information to sift through and this process will begin today.

"As soon as there is any news on the identity of Mr X we will make a further statement. This will not be today.

"Mr X continues to be cared for by the Trust, and there has been no change in his condition."

The case has drawn comparisons with the Oscar-winning 1996 film Shine, which tells the moving story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown while playing.

Agencias: Associated Press
Medio: CNN.com
Fecha: Jueves 19 de mayo de 2005
Notas: Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
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