On a Saturday in October 2013, nearly 200 musicians, pros and amateurs, came together to play 147 dilapidated pianos stored in a dusty warehouse on Chicago’s west side. 147 Pianos documents this event, while telling the story of Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski who have worked together for decades, fixing and tuning pianos – struggling to maintain a business that may no longer have a place in the contemporary world.
Contact: Dolores Wilber firstname.lastname@example.org (01) 773-882-1717
TRT: 39:46 min.
Completion date: 2015
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Director: Dolores Wilber
Composer and Supervising Sound Editor: Robert Steel
Editor: Wonjung Bae
Cinematographer: Pete Biagi
First Conductor: Victor Muenzer
Color Correction: Robert Sliga
Lukas Piano Service owners:
Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski
Producers: Dolores Wilber and Dana Hodgdon
Everything I do is based in my life growing up in Chicago. Where I lived for my first 18 years you were identified by what parish and what park you were from, followed by your ethnicity. The city used to be a mixture of residential and light manufacturing with some heavy manufacturing. That blend of culture, family and work life has vastly eroded.
‘147 Pianos’ is a film of a single performance in October 2013 at Lukas Piano Service on Chicago’s west side where close to 200 musicians, pros and amateurs, adults and children, played piano scores from Chopsticks to Chopin all together, all at once. The music included Chopsticks/Euphemia Allen, Bethena/Scott Joplin, Gymnopedie No. 1/Erik Satie, Scherzo No. 3/Chopin and original experimental scores for the production. The film intertwines interviews with the owners, along with the concert of the `as is’ pianos playing simultaneously by the invited public.
Ed Lisauskas and Sylvester Czajkowski have worked together for decades, fixing and tuning pianos, in a dusty warehouse full of hundreds of rickety but mostly living pianos with a few treasures they have refurbished. Treasures of information about the history of pianos, they tell a Chicago story with a dusty warehouse full of over 150 rickety but living treasures they have refurbished over the last 40 years. They struggle to maintain their lifelong business threatened with digital media and the need for portability in our contemporary world.
Their work, this warehouse and this performance of 147 Pianos hold some of that history of what Chicago once was, even as we watch what it becomes. The performance was directed and produced by Dolores Wilber, Composer and Sound Director Rob Steel, Cinematographer Pete Biagi, and Producer Dana Hodgdon. It was supported by DePaul University Bluelight grant and the help of fifty faculty and students who helped make this film possible.
147 Pianos is part of Chicago Artists Month 2013, the 18th annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant art community presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. For more information, visit www.chicagoartistsmonth.org.