Dear friend

Dranoff is in the middle of the 13th year of producing PIANO SLAM in partnership with the Adrienne Arsht Center. The theme is Miami Memories, what’s changed?
Looking back on the mission of PIANO SLAM, the core of the program was to bring classical music by top international artists to teenagers in public schools and inspire them to write poetry about the role of music in their lives. Beginning in PIANO SLAM 1, these students often chose to write about their heritage, their music and their hometown Miami. 

A favorite Dranoff commissioned work used in PIANO SLAM is Marcel Bergmann‘s Urban Pulse, dancing back-and-forth between classical and jazz. It seems to fit with the teenagers inhabiting different worlds between childhood and adulthood. What is my “Urban” in Miami? What is my neighborhood and what does that mean to me. Miami Gardens. Hialeah. Homestead – our city’s urban cores. Each of these geographies were described and connections expressed in their music. Each poem was a personal connection to home, sometimes loving, sometimes not but always projected through music and rhythm.
After having endured so difficult a year that tore us out of our customary lives, we wanted to offer them (and us) a safe space for reflection about what has changed in our lives and in our Miami Memories.
Accompanying the students' works is poet Roger Robinson who was part in Piano Slam 9 and returns to be part of the 2021 Piano Slam. Below the title poem of his award winning collection, A Portable Paradise. Here is the link to an interview about his intentions for his own life and his work.
With music and reflection and poems, let’s “shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope of morning”


Gabriele Fiorentino 
The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation
Piano Slam


And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

right here in Miami

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