“I like the sense of unexpectedness about who could turn up to listen or who could turn up to play. I like the blending of the sounds of the piano with the sirens and traffic going by. It’s just so surreal and funny to me. And there’s something about what we do is we take this instrument that everyone is used to hearing in a protected environment with walls around it…and we put it here under the sky in this completely exposed environment. So by taking something like that out of context, it actually makes people reevaluate their relationship to it. So maybe if you’d pass by a piano that was in a classroom or in a club or something, you wouldn’t think anything of it, but when you put it out here in an open plaza in the middle of the city with the traffic going by, I’ve noticed people listen in a new way. And that’s fun.
Anything that kind of sharpens people’s awareness of reality and question the way they do things and listen to things I think is good.”
“There’s this guy named Neil that comes around sometimes. I haven’t’ seen him in the last few weeks; I’m a little worried about him. He’s in a wheelchair, he’s got an oxygen tank, but he’s a serious composer. He’s living in an SRO somewhere. He doesn’t really have access to a piano. He goes to the YMCA and joined there just so he could get showers a play a piano that’s over in some spare room over there. And when he can, he likes to come here. And he shows up and he’s eighty years old, he’s got this long beard, he looks kind of ratty and he says, ‘Hey Dean, I wrote another movement for my concerto.’ And it’s really easy for someone that has that appearance for someone who doesn’t know him to say ‘Oh, yeah, man, whatever.’ But he sits down and he really has written a new movement to a piano concerto that is actually really mind blowing. And it’s so touching to witness something like that and the disconnect of our society in supporting a person like that when there’s this jewel of a person that’s around and for whatever reason he hasn’t connected with the things that can make living practical in this society. So being able to enable a person like that in a way is really rewarding.”