U.K. campaign seeks to identify mute pianist


GILLINGHAM, U.K. - A campaign to identify a mysterious mute piano virtuoso who turned up in Kent more than a month ago is drawing a huge response.

Officials say the U.K.'s National Missing Persons Helpline has been inundated with calls about the mysterious man, after his photo was published in the British press.

Police discovered the man, soaking wet and dressed in an expensive black suit, walking aimlessly in southeastern Kent in early April. The slim, six-foot-tall man has short brown hair and is believed to be in his 20s or 30s. He was admitted to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

Because he was unable to speak, staff gave him a pen and paper hoping that he would write his name or otherwise communicate with them.

Instead, he produced detailed drawings of a grand piano, including the interior. Staff then brought him to the hospital's chapel, where a piano is located, and he proceeded to play for two hours. He also drew a Swedish flag; however, hospital staff believe him to be a British citizen.

In the weeks since, the man has remained mute and generally anxious, except when he is brought to the chapel piano, where he plays for hours on end.

Though hospital officials have said the man, who has been dubbed "Piano Man," has no physical health problems, they believe he has suffered some sort of mental breakdown, leading many to draw comparisons to pianist David Helfgott.

The Australian musician, whose story was adapted into the award-winning 1996 film Shine starring Geoffrey Rush, suffered a nervous breakdown but eventually returned to performance.

Authorities have also said that they are contacting European orchestras and music organizations in their attempt to identify the man.

Medio: CBC Arts
Fecha: Lunes 16 de mayo de 2005
Notas: Copyright © CBC 2005
ID: 2203 Editar

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