Malek Jandali is a multi-faceted talent. The German-born, Syrian-American pianist is best known as a concert pianist and composer. The Arab Spring in 2012 and the ongoing Syrian Civil War have focused his musical gifts on activism and humanitarian work.
Jandali, in conversation with Lois Reitzes, said that the news from the Middle East got him thinking about “the soft power of music and what we can do to unite people, and to change people, because people can change the world.” To that end, Jandali founded Pianos for Peace in 2015, a nonprofit organization promoting peace and understanding through music and education.
Over the past 16 months, Jandali has been working to make his ambitious dream a reality, all while maintaining a recording, touring and composing career. That ambitious idea – Pianos for Peace – was inspired by his travels to illustrious international cities, like Paris, London and Vienna, and their prominent public art programs. Back home, Jandali was able to procure 29 pianos – some donated, some purchased – all colorfully painted by artists both professional and amateur.
Pianos will be placed for two weeks in 29 strategic locations like the Fox Theatre and Piedmont Park. The strategic locations include underserved communities like Underground Atlanta and the Fulton County Jail. They’ve also developed an app where users can locate all 29 pianos and even schedule a free concert and invite their friends on social media.
The Pianos for Peace Festival ends Sept. 18, and afterwards all the pianos will be donated to community organizations like nursing homes and schools. But “the real impact,” said Jandali, “comes through our year-round community engagement programs.”
Learn more about the Pianos for Peace festival and initiative here.