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Boarding a flight at Rome’s airport just got more enjoyable

by Chiara Beghelli

Starting from today, waiting to board an airplane or for the arrival of a friend will be much more enjoyable: every Thursday until May 2016, Rome's Fiumicino Airport will host a series of concerts in the B and D boarding areas by young pianists from the National Academy of Santa Cecilia's courses of Higher Education, the students of the JuniOrchestra, and Santa Cecilia's choir.

Santa Cecilia is one of the oldest music schools in the world (it was founded in Rome in 1585).

The program of events is entitled “Santa Cecilia al volo” (”al volo” means “quickly,” “on the fly”), both due to the special location chosen for the concerts, and to their short duration, about 20 minutes.

On December 16, the Maestro Sir Antonio Pappano opened the series of concerts. Music Director of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia since 2005, Pappano, arriving from London (where he was born in 1959 to Italian parents), sat at the piano placed at Terminal 1 - boarding area B - at the Fiumicino Airport, and along with Maestro Carlo Maria Parazzoli, concertmaster of the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, played two movements from Johannes Brahms's Sonata No.2 for Violin and Piano op. 100, as well as Vittorio Monti's Csárdás.

The concerts are inspired by the original “Airport Pianos” project: in addition to the four grand pianos placed beyond the security gates and near the boarding gates at Terminals 1 and 3, a totem complete with a tablet and a camera will also be installed.

Passengers will be able to record their own musical performances and give the go-ahead to their being shared on the social profiles of Aeroporti di Roma, the company that runs the city's airports - Fiumicino and Ciampino.

Just enter your data, pick a time length for your performance, and start playing.

The idea of filling with music a place of transit was launched in 2007 by British musician Luke Jerram.

In many railway stations in Italy, pianos are available to play for passengers and visitors.

Marked by a sign reading “Play me, I'm yours!,” they can be played freely; they can be found, for example at the Santa Lucia station in Venice, at the Tiburtina station in Rome, at Milan's Stazione Centrale and at Turin's Porta Nuova.

Last year, Aeroporti di Roma has welcomed about 44 million passengers. More than 230 destinations around the world can be reached from Rome, thanks to more than 100 airlines operating at the two airports.