Video: Homeless man plays Beethoven in station forecourt

Video: Homeless man plays Beethoven in station forecourt


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2015

While you enjoy your weekend:

This is a homeless man in Newcastle train station, soaking wet with a drenched sleeping bag over his shoulders.His name is Alan, he is 26 and he has been living on the streets for 18 months.

He plays Für Elise, Moonlight Sonata and other Beethoven standards.

Do not avert your eyes. Can you do something to help?
homeless man newcastle

picture (c) North News and Pictures Ltd


  • John Borstlap says:

    A very strange story. Since when do homeless people have pianos? And then, how could we help? (more info plse)

    • Susan Bradley says:

      Mr Borstlap, I don’t know whether you intend it or not, but your tone of voice smacks of cynicism and disbelief.
      This person needs help. For this person in the video, the desire to play is so overwhelming that it transcends rain. And you carp about the presence of a piano?
      You of all people should fund him, out of sheer bloody guilt. You in your warm room, and your CDs and the odd score, maybe even a baby grand. This homeless man, homeless for who bloody knows what reason, plays a piano, and you QUIBBLE???

      • John Borstlap says:

        I asked for more info, right? And I did not mean to be ironic. I restrained myself to say ‘let’s also help him by giving him free piano lessons’.

  • Martin Anderson says:

    If you are inclined to help, you’ll want to know that an old schoolmate of Alan Donaldson has created a page to collect donations for him, at

  • stanley cohen says:

    How many other stations in the world, never mind England, can boast an upright piano?

    • Louise says:

      There is another upright piano at Marylebone Station in London and I have seen a few people passing and playing. Wonderful.

      • John Borstlap says:

        As in the 19th century the piano conquered the homes and salons of the bourgeoisie, in our own time it has moved from the home into public space. In the public library of Amsterdam, the biggest in the country, to help fight the reverent silence provoked by all those books, a piano is being raped all day long by anybody ignorant enough to overlook wrong notes, so that visitors feel no longer intimidated by intellectual challenges.