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Flower Piano at San Francisco Botanical Garden

Published on 7/20/2019

In July 2019 Richard Mirabella organized an afternoon/evening field trip to the Flower Piano event in the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Details from the event are shown below.



This is a great event for photographers, non-photographer significant others and friends to enjoy the beauty of the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and live music from professional musicians.  For photography, this should be a great setting for event, street, portrait, environmental portrait, flora and night photography.  

This is the 5th annual Flower Piano event at the San Francisco Botanical Garden.  From July 11 to 22, Twelve Pianos are placed at various scenic locations in the garden.  During this time, amateur and professional pianists and other musicians perform.  In addition, confident visitors to the garden may find an unused piano and show their skills as a pianist.

On a few special days, of which Saturday, July 20 is one, excellent professional musicians perform with scheduled programs.  Performers include members of the San Francisco Symphony as well as special performances such as 100 hula dancers performing traditional and modern hula.  

You can attend all of the above by just buying a standard admission ticket to the garden for the day -- which you may want to purchase in advance, in case admissions are limited.

In addition, on this day from 8pm to 11pm there is the Gala Special Event with special theatrical lighting and other effects, food trucks and bars.  A special ticket is required to go to this night event - see below for ticketing information.

Plan going to this event along one of the following three plans 1) Afternoon only using a regular Garden admission, 2) Only the Flower Piano at Night Special Event from 8pm to 11pm, or 3) do both 1 and 2 -- which is what I am doing.

Expected level of Physical Effort to go to this event
The Garden covers 55 acres, so if you try to stop by all 12 piano locations you may get tired. However you can livit your activity and still enjoy the event by focusing on the activities near the Great Meadow.

Link to San Francisco Botanical Garden Website info about the Flower Piano Event and Flower Piano at Night



The Social Aspect -- form small groups and carpool.  Social Gatherings

The best way to go to this event is in small groups, and these groups frequently form from car pools.  The sign-up sheet has entries for joining carpools.  Our meeting place for carpools in Palo Alto is the Parking Lot adjacent to the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium.

For those going to the afternoon events, departure from the parking lot adjacent to the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium is at 11am (try to be at the parking lot at 10:45am)

For those NOT going to the afternoon events, and will go to Flower Piano at Night, departure from the parking lot adjacent to the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium is at 6:30pm (try to be at the parking lot at 6:15pm)

Note that parking for the event is best using street parking near the Garden entrances.  If you can't find a space, there is undergroud paid parking near the de Young Museum.  However, the garage closes at 11pm - so leave the event early so you can reteive your car.

In addition, we will have social gatherings as follows:

2:30 - 3pm in the Great Meadow (see the detail map). Members should pack food and drink of their choice with them.  Don't count on being able to purchase food and drink in the garden (although it may be available).  See map for more precise meeting location.  Note that at 3pm, the 100 Hula dancers will perform at this location. 

7:00– 7:45pm Across the Street from Garden's North Gate Entrance (see the detail map). The Flower Piano at Night event starts at 8pm, while the regular operating hours of the garden end at 7pm.  This social gathering is for those who will first arrive for the Flower Piano at Night Event at about 7pm and for those who were in the garden in the afternoon who will also go to the Flower Piano at Night event.  

Purchasing Tickets

Afternoon at Flower Piano on Saturday, July 20

Afternoon at Flower Piano is done under a regular admission to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.  Admission is FREE to San Francisco residents, Members of the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and members of gardens that participate in the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Admission Program.  So members of Gamble Garden can go for free. Filoli is not a member of this program, so Filoli membership does not get you free admission.  Remember to bring your membership card to exercise this right.

Adult admission is $9 (plus $2.14 Eventbrite fee)
Adult (65 and over) is $6 (plus $1.95 Eventbrite fee)

NOTE: A Flower Piano at Night ticket (see below) DOES NOT include admission to the afternoon program.  However, if you are a SF Botanical Garden member or a member of a garden part of the Reciprocal Admission program - you can go for free, otherwise purchase a ticket as noted above.

Flower Piano at Night on Saturday, July 20
Tickets are priced at $55 (plus $4.50 Eventbrite fee).  San Francisco Botanical Garden Members pay $30 (plus Eventbrite fee) saving $25/ticket and can purchase up to 2 tickets by using a membership discount code. 

You can become a member at the lowest tier (“Avid Gardner”) for $70 for one year which includes being part of the Reciprocal Admission Program – which includes the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and many other places in California and the rest of the US.  Members also get expedited entry into Flower Piano at Night. So, if you buy two tickets to Flower Piano at Night your net cost for membership is effectively $10. If you become a member to take advantage of the member discount, first buy the membership.  In the acknowledging email you will find the discount code for members to purchase Flower Piano at Night tickets.  Entry membership also allows you to bring a guest to general admission for free.

Link to buy San Francisco Botanical membership

Link to buy Flower Piano at Night tickets – verify purchase is for July 20.

Link to High Resolution Map of Garden and Meeting Points


The July 20th event Schedule for Flower Piano

Piano Locations & Codes used in program schedule below

1 GM |  Great Meadow
2.   HH  |  Heidelberg Hill
3.  GF  |  Garden of Fragrance
4.  RH  |  Rhododendron Garden
5.  AP  |  Ancient Plant Garden
6.  NZ  |  New Zealand
7.  SA  |  South Africa
8.  CN  |  California Native Garden
9.  RG  |  Redwood Grove
10. CL  |  Conifer Lawn
11. MV  |  Moon Viewing Garden
12. ZG  |  Zellerbach Garden

Afternoon Schedule

1pm - 2pm | Twelve Piano Extravaganza

  1. GM | Joshua Raoul Brody : Originals, Aboriginals, Standards, Substandards, and Beatles Songs.
  2. HH | Eric Chase : Classical Music From Beloved Composers and Improvisations
  3. GF | Kristina Foltz : From Bach to Brubeck:  a Musical Journey   
    Penelope Keep : a Mix of Classical and Jazz
  1. RH | Thea Becker : Mozart, Schubert, Chopin : Favorites Not Often Performed
  2. AP | Alon Nechushtan : Stride, Stroll, & Roll (a Tribute)
  3. NZ | Eric Shifrin : Confessions of a San Francisco Saloon Pianist
  4. SA | Caroline Dahl : Boogie Woogie and American Roots Piano
  5. CN | Rob & Petra Sullivan, Piano & Mandolin : Ragtime Era Classics, Waltzes, Tangos, Songs
  6. RG | Kitten on the Keys : Flapper, Rock, Blues, Wave, Cabaret, Phalanges Fun.
  7. CL | Dizzy Victrola & Co. : Tickling Tunes From the Grateful Dead & Queen
  8. MV | Kimberly Hou : Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and More
  9. ZG | Colin Farish : Classical and Jazz, Brazilian, Blues and Beatles

2:30 to 3pm Club Social -- in Great Meadow (see PACC Logo on map for more precise location)
Note: A Hula show is at the Great Meadow as well and starts at 3pm.

Hula Dance Company PerformancesNā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu'

100 hula dancers performing traditional and contemporary hula over two performances and locations

2pm - 2:20pm, Garden of Fragrance
3pm - 3:20pm, Great Meadow

2 - 5:30pm, Conifer Lawn | Club Flor

 2:00 - 2:30pm | Beat Corner: Mauro & Dean, Musical Guests, Avant Garden Poetry
 2:30 - 3:00pm | Eric Chase: Classical Music Inspired by Nature
 3:00 - 3:30pm | Beat Corner: Mauro & Dean, Musical Guests, Avant Garden Poetry
 3:30 - 4:00pm | Steve Holtzman: Slow Dancing With Trees, a Mindfulness Workshop
 4:00 - 4:30pm | Beat Corner: Mauro & Dean, Musical Guests, Avant Garden Poetry
 4:30 - 5:00pm | Mr Brandy: Dark Rock Tales

3 - 5pm, Zellerbach Garden | Members of San Francisco Symphony 



All visitors must leave the Garden by 7pm.  No visitors in garden from 7pm to 8pm.  Those attending Flower Piano at Night enter at about 8pm

7:00pm to 7:45pm Club Social Meetup across the street from North Gate Entrance (see detail map)



8 - 11pm | Flower Piano at Night

A special gala after dark event with food trucks and outdoor bars.  Requires that you purchase a special ticket for this event.

The best performances, singers, musicians, special effects and surprises are at this night event.  

This event should also allow for more interesting photography.  However please just use the lighting of the event and do not add flash or other light.

RG | Jill Tracy: a Sonic Séance of Elegant Dark Beauty

AP | Joe Magdalena: Standards, Pop, Sinatra, Happy Stuff

CN | Daniel Sullivan: Night Fever: a Bacharach Bacchanal

GF | Paulo Sultanum & Casulo: a Brazilian Bossafolk Experience

NZ | La Mantia: Afro Caribbean Latin Argentinian Jazz Originals

CL | Mr Lucky and the Cocktail Party Featuring Joshua Raoul Brody: Ellington to Bacharach & Beyond!