Big Piano to visit Carmel to promote jazz competition


The Big Piano will make a visit to Carmel to create a buzz for the American Pianists Awards.

The Big Piano will be set up from 4 to 6 p.m. April 20 at Main Street and the Monon Trail in the Carmel Arts & Design District.

“It’s a 23-foot-long floor piano like was in the movie ‘Big,’” said Carmel resident Lee Clifford, who is director of marketing for American Pianists Association. “We’re really looking forward to people just having fun on the piano. We haven’t done a lot of stuff historically in Carmel, so it’s fun for me to bring my job and my passion to my home area. Hopefully, we’ll get some more people aware of the awards. It’s the biggest jazz competition in the world and it’s based (in Indianapolis). It’s nice to introduce it to new people.”

The American Pianists Awards’ Gala Finals for jazz will be at 8 p.m. April 22 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. The presenting sponsor is Carmel-based REI Real Estate.

The awards are held every two years, and it alternates between jazz and classical.

The five finalists are Caelan Cardello, Esteban Castro, Paul Cornish, Thomas Linger and Isaiah J. Thompson. Clifford has produced livestream performances of each of the jazz pianists.

In the first half, each of the five finalists performs a standard with three-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant. In the second half, each finalist will perform an original arrangement with the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. The emcee is Grammy Award-winning pianist Bill Charlap.

The winner will receive the Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship, cash and two years of career advancement and support valued at more than $200,000. For more, visit