Classical music is often associated with grand concert halls that are filled with thousands of patrons, but popular pianist Masayuki Tayama wanted to find a way to make the live experience more personal.
Inspiration sparked years ago when Masayuki and his girlfriend, Rhiana Henderson, were living on a narrowboat. They owned a digital piano that they would often play, catching the attention of people passing by their home on one of London’s canals.
Wanting to share this kind of intimate musical encounter with others, the couple decided to have a canal boat built for the sole purpose of becoming a concert venue.
“This is The Piano Boat, which is the only canal boat of its kind,” Rhiana said. “It was built to our specifications as a floating concert venue. So we have a brand new Steinway grand piano and here we give musical experiences for people on the canals.”
The Piano Boat, located in the U.K., offers cruises of various themes throughout the year, including one during the Christmas season.
The vessel, which was named Rachmaninov, is cleverly designed with a combination of traditional nautical and concert hall elements. The focal point is the wood-clad Concert Saloon, but The Piano Boat also features luxurious bedrooms.
The average concert hall can hold thousands of people, but this unique venue is made to comfortably seat only 12.
“I still play in regular concert halls as well,” Masayuki said, “but when you’re playing in a 4,000-seater, the lighting is blinding, and it is projected in a different way.”
Two months into creating this one-of-a-kind experience, Masayuki and Rhiana are discovering that they aren’t the only ones who crave a more personal musical experience. They’ve already organized five cruises and are completely booked for months!
“At the moment we’re just sort of taking it as it comes and just, you know, not taking it for granted that it’s been a great six or seven weeks,” Rhiana said.
What a creative way to combine music and travel! We’re adding The Piano Boat to our bucket list!
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