Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut at the Whitney Museum of Art, Biennial 2008


Sign in to view read count
“Pianos are instruments not furniture"

Live public performance and interview on Neighborhood Public Radio as part of

The Whitney Museum of Art, NYC, Biennial 2008
March 8, 2008 3pm 88.9- 91.9 FM

Shurdut descends from his perch on East 74th Street in search of a local piano to pounce and claw in his vigorous pro-active public amble, “Pianos are instruments not furniture."

-Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut

I grew up in a society where music was considered an after school activity; a recreational babysitter.

25 years later I decided to walk the streets of New York City to find a place to give sound away. With it's task force of 8 million, New York still conducts business on false advertising the American dream; selling music and art as part of our culture, then cutting out those same programs in its public schools.

Pay the $20 entrance fee to the museum and see works by Vincent Van Gogh who died with little more than his beard. Stop making museums rich. Artists are starving. In an apathetic society, the American class system is a culture of piano furniture status symbols. Our image of the piano is the context in which we place it.

I always carry a recorder and small camera with me. And since the rich music scene of New York had been sold out for higher rents, there were now fewer places than ever to perform what the city still shamefully sells to the world as it's crowning cultural achievement. So, I started walking into music stores to perform for whomever would listen, and documented my results.

The first things to be cut in any city school system are its music and arts programs. And as such, it seemed to me that music and art are really mostly for those who could afford it. In fact, our most primitive acts of communication were sounds, and musics, which ultimately became the backbone of community, and religion. From lullaby's at night, to songs of prayer and marching bands throughout our lives, nothing is more important to our early survival than the sound of our own mother.

I continued my walks through the streets of New York to see how people would react to one of the strongest words in our language - FREE. Most importantly, the search is as much a part of music as it is a study in sociology. It's about how people receive. It's about the conditions placed on acts of giving, and the expectation of trade or exchange placed on such acts that connect, nurture, and become integral parts to our psychological survival, mental, and spiritual health. What better place to bring it than to the land of the free / home of the brave, right to the belly and the brains of the beast and the “MADISON AVENUE ADVERTISING CULTURE" - FREE ---To see whether our nature leans toward a more superficial sense of freedom, or toward the understanding that our concept of free can only be petitioned through interdependence and responsibility.

Visit Website

For more information contact .


View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

Jazz News


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.