Pianos for Peace delights people all over Atlanta

By Maria Saporta

The moment was priceless. A man was walking along the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine on Sunday morning wearing a T-Shirt with a peace sign and the following words: “Make Music – Not War.”

Pianos for Peace

Man walking along the Atlanta BeltLine is drawn to one of the Pianos for Peace (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The man walked up to a green piano placed on the BeltLine as part of an inspirational initiative called: “Pianos for Peace.” The man was pulled to the keyboard as bugs are drawn to light –  and he entertained fellow BeltLiners with instrumental jazzy tunes.

All over Atlanta, similar musical tales have filled our ears since Sept. 3, when a Music Festival for Peace was launched. In total, 29 painted pianos can be found all over town until Sept. 18.

The festival is the brainchild of Malek Jandali, a composer and pianist who believes in harmony – musically and most importantly among people.

Pianos for Peace

Pianos for Peace attracts a man wearing a “Make Music – Not War” T-shirt along the Atlanta BeltLine (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Jandali, a Syrian-American, was born in Germany. He has performed around the world, and he believes music can help bring people together while also introducing the arts and creativity to their lives.

“We are making art accessible for all,” Jandali said after the showing of a documentary about Arab-Americans. Jandali called it one of the largest public art displays in Atlanta’s history. “We are going to donate all these pianos to Title 1 schools and nursing homes.”

Jandali came to Atlanta partly because of its civil and human rights history as a city of peace. “I have a home here,” said Jindali,, who wants Atlanta to live up to its ideals. “I’m going to shake up the city,” he said laughingly.

Pianos for Peace

Malek Jandali, a Syrian-American pianist, has performed around the world but now calls Atlanta home (Special: Pianos for Peace)

On Sunday, Jandali’s hopes were being realized. At Piedmont Park, a well-dressed man started to play the couple of tunes he knew while a young man listened. And then the young man sat down on the piano bench, skillfully playing a number of pieces – showing he was true musician. People strolling in the park stopped to listen – enjoying the spontaneity of the moment.

Jandali said they actually have an app where people can locate the 29 pianos, and even schedule a free concert and invite, friends, family and fans to the show.

The Pianos for Peace festival works on so many levels. It showcases the ideals of our city. It adds fun and beauty to our urban environment. It helps spread the enjoyment of art to young and old alike. And it is helping bring our diverse city closer together.

Thank you Malek Jandali.

Pianos for Peace

At Piedmont Park on Sunday, people come together around the piano (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Pianos for Peace

Playing tunes at Piedmont Park during Pianos for Peace festival (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Pianos for Peace

Piedmont Park’s piano attracts amateurs and professionals alike (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Pianos for Peace

A piano at the Five Points MARTA Station attracts a performer of tomorrow (Special: Pianos for Peace)

Pianos for Peace

Piano at Atlantic Station becomes a learning experience (Special: Pianos for Peace)

Pianos for Peace

Pianos for Peace celebrates Atlanta at the Center for Civil and Human Rights (Special: Pianos for Peace)


Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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