THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN
TThe Princeton Pianists Ensemble (PPE) – everyone’s heard of it. And how could they not? The group describes itself as “one of the only bands on the planet where you will ever see five pianos on one stage”, and they certainly live up to that, with their gigs for not quite dozens of people. hands. In other words, they do it in a normal year. But what happens during a pandemic? In the following photos, we’ll catch up (visually) with some of the PPE members, and explore how the group is handling these unprecedented times.
Jessica Pan ’21, Vice-President Emeritus
The concert season is at the heart of PPE’s activities, and the pre-concert practice season is the second main event. The problem? Princeton has locked down all of the last publicly playable pianos on campus. Pictured is Butler College’s 1942 living room piano. Pianos at Frist Campus Center, other residential colleges, and more are also locked.
Yende Mangum ’24
Some pianists have sidestepped the practice problem by securing access to Princeton practice rooms. Although the rooms were recently opened to the public, pianists only have a limited time each week to use them. Mangum is shown here playing at Effron, Princeton’s first musical building. Each room is suspended from the ceiling to ensure sound insulation.
Konstantinos Konstantinou ’22
Joy Quan ’23, vice-president
The other option for playing the piano: the digital piano. Many PPE members on campus are using keyboards this semester to work on pieces in their bedrooms, wearing headphones to avoid complaining about noise. Keyboards don’t have the depth of a real piano, but they are sufficient for most (non-performance) purposes.
Hannah at 22
Alex Luo ’23, Webmaster
But PPE members don’t just practice 24/7. In a normal semester, the group would be full of real in-person activity. This year, all they can do is organize informal get-togethers (not related to PPE) to recapture some of that social spirit that came with being a pianist – at least, being a pianist to Princeton.
Xiaorun Wu ’23, treasurer
Matthew Pickering ’24, Publicist
PPE also has mandatory Zoom meetings. Seen here is a meeting of PPE officers, screenshot provided by Matthew Pickering ’24. It was not a normal semester, nor a normal year, but PPE managed to continue. The members have arranged the pieces for this year’s (virtual) concert and are busy working on it. Even if everyone’s life has been put on hold, in one way or another, we can always count on good music, classical or otherwise, to continue to cheer us up.
Ruben Ascoli ’23, president
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